If there’s anything that these two coaches stressed heading into their season opener, it’s the importance of playing well for four quarters.
“We’ve played them close every year since I’ve been here,” fourth-year Shannon High coach Chad Cook said about playing West Point. “It’s going to be a four-quarter battle. …
“The one thing we don’t need to do is to get down early. If we get to the fourth quarter and we play well, then we’ll have a chance.”
The last three meetings between Shannon and West Point have been decided by seven points or less, including last year’s 27-20 Red Raiders win in Shannon. The Green Wave won 21-14 at home in 2008, a year after Shannon squeaked out a 36-35 home victory.
Being ranked No. 2 in the state and blowing out Itawamba AHS, a 2009 MHSAA Class 4A state semifinalist, in jamboree game last weekend, one would think that the Green Wave would have all the confidence in the world heading into tonight’s 7:30 game in West Point against the Daily Journal’s third-ranked large school.
“It was two quarters,” said Wave coach Chris Chambless, discounting the value of last Saturday’s jamboree game in Starkville. “Four-quarter games are different. Football is a four-quarter game, not a two-quarter game.”
And he can turn to last year’s season opener to prove how important it is to play well for an entire game and not just one half. The Green Wave, ranked No. 1 in the Daily Journal’s large school rankings at the time, led second-ranked Shannon 14-12 after three quarters before being outscored 15-6 in the final period.
“We made too many mistakes,” Chambless said afterwards. “You’re not going to overcome too many mistakes.”
One thing going for West Point this time around is the fact that the 2009 Daily Journal Offensive Player of the Year won’t be suiting up for the Red Raiders. As a senior last year, Keon McGaughy scorched the Wave for three touchdowns, one rushing and two receiving, in the second half.
He scored on a 67-yard run and pass receptions of 61 and 29 yards.
“I think there’s about 10 other teams that are glad to see him gone, too,” Chambless said about McGaughy’s departure from the high school level.
Nonetheless, last year’s loss to Shannon will serve as motivation for the Wave.
“It certainly will,” Chambless said. “It would be crazy to say it would be anything different.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal