“It’s always a battle when we get together,” West Point coach Chris Chambless said. “You don’t see any weaknesses and you play them later in the year and there are a lot less mistakes.”
Both head coaches were quick to praise the strengths of each other’s teams.
Oxford, the Journal’s second-ranked large school, is 9-0, 5-0 in the division. That mark includes wins against Charleston and Lafayette.
“West Point is a good football team, again. They have whooped us. I don’t know if we’ve beat West Point, especially in the last 10 years in our region,” Oxford coach Johnny Hill said. “We’ve come close a couple of times but haven’t sealed the deal.”
No. 1 West Point’s offense is led by running threats in quarterback Tez Lane and tailback Aeris Williams. Lane, a senior, accounted for five touchdowns last week against Center Hill, three rushing and two passing.
The Green Wave (7-2, 5-0) has beaten Starkville but may have more impressive showings in a 6-0 loss to Noxubee and 12-10 loss at South Panola.
“Except for they’re big, real fast and physical, not much (is scary),” Hill said. “Their special teams are really good. The quarterback is very fast and throws well and the tailback is huge and he’s a load.”
Oxford quarterback Parker Adamson is a throwing threat with backfield options as well. The 6-foot-3 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic selection has thrown for 1,602 yards and 12 touchdowns. Nick Brown has 480 yards and seven touchdowns.
Running back Jarius Barnes has rushed for 596 yards and scored four of the Chargers’ 15 rushing touchdowns.
“The offensive line is impressive to me,” Chambless said. “They block well, zone block well and pass block well. We’ve got our work cut out for us and have to stay focued the whole game.”
Xavier Pegues leads Oxford with 9.6 tackles per game. Pegues will join Adamson in the Alabama-Mississippi Classic. Lane and West Point defensive tackle Freddie Reed were chosen for the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game, along with Oxford offensive lineman Clifton Smith.