By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal
WEST POINT – Right before Friday night’s game with Region 1-5A foe Hernando, West Point head coach Chris Chambless challenged his senior class.
One of those seniors – quarterback Dequinten Spraggins – obviously took that speech to heart.
Spraggins rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns and also threw for another 118 yards and a touchdown to lead the Green Wave to a 33-22 victory.
West Point moved to 3-3 overall and 2-0 in the region while Hernando fell to 1-5 and 0-2.
“Coach gave us a talk before the game about senior leadership,” said Spraggins. “This is our last year playing and we want to go out on top. So the seniors have to take control and being a senior, I have to put my team ahead of the game.”
The Green Wave rolled up an even 300 yards of offense in the first half alone, and 226 of those yards came via the ground game. Spraggins, Tez Lane and Aeris Williams each had a rushing touchdown in the first half. Meanwhile,
Spraggins ended the first-half scoring with a scoring toss to William Harrell as West Point led 27-12 at the break.
But turnovers and penalties slowed West Point down in the second half. At one point in the third quarter, West Point fumbled on back-to-back possessions – once on a punt return and once on a kickoff return.
‘Pretty good game’
Hernando held the ball for 16 straight plays and managed to cut the lead to 27-22.
“I told the guys I have been here 13 years and we haven’t had a season yet where we didn’t have some ugly wins,” said Chambless. “But if you take away the turnovers, and those turnovers are unacceptable, we had a pretty good game.
“Our defense is also getting better and we moved the ball well. But if this had been a poker game, then we bluffed the heck out of them.”
West Point finished with 570 yards of offense, including 452 on the ground. And fittingly, it was Spraggins who put the final touches on the win with his second rushing touchdown with 6:57 left in the game.
“I try to keep my boys up and motivated,” said Spraggins. “When I get down they get down so I have to keep them all up and keep our offensive line blocking. We just had to finish them off and we did that late in the game.”