WEST POINT – In its lone loss of the season, West Point committed a pair of costly second-half turnovers that eventually spelled defeat. On Friday night, the Green Wave reversed the tables to capture a crucial 24-14 division victory over New Hope.
West Point junior Dequinten Spraggins had two third-quarter interceptions that led to 15 points, and helped the Green Wave defeat New Hope for the third time in two years. West Point moved to 5-1 and 2-0 in the division while the Trojans fell to 3-3 and 1-1.
“Anytime you chances, you gotta make plays,” said West Point coach Chris Chambless. “You have to grab those interceptions, not drop passes and make tackles if you want to win these games. We still have to do a better job at making plays when they count and we still missed some tonight. And last time I checked, every play counts and you can’t afford to miss a play.”
West Point’s Justin Cox, a Mississippi State commitment, ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to pace the offense. Senior tailback LaKenderick Thomas added 20 rushes for 97 yards as West Point racked up 224 yards on the ground.
Defensively, the Green Wave held talented New Hope tailback Terrane Dentry to just 27 yards rushing.
“We were dead in the first half,” said Cox. “And I like to win big, so we still have to improve a lot. But those interceptions gave us some big momentum. We got the ball, pounded it in there and scored.”
The pair of Division 1-5A rivals battled for field position and the Green Wave threw the last punch in the first half. Cox gave West Point a 6-0 lead on a 43-yard touchdown scamper late in the first half. Then the Trojans took a 7-6 lead when quarterback Zak Thrasher connected with Darius Petty for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
However, West Point took a 9-6 lead into the locker room thanks to Eric Lemus’ 29-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. The three-pointer capped off a 13-play drive that took up the last 5:59 of the first half.
And it gave West Point a much-needed boost heading into the final two quarters.
“It was big,” said Chambless of the field goal. “We changed field-goal kickers because our other one is injured. It’s always good to get points right before the half.”
Paul Jones/Special to the Journal