By Brandon Speck
OXFORD – No one was sure of the last time Oxford beat West Point, if ever. Until now. Oxford beat the Green Wave 30-20 Friday in an early, but crucial, Division 1-5A game.
“It makes it real special,” Oxford coach Johnny Hill said. “If things come out, you’re going to have to play them again.”
It had been at least 10 straight losses and Oxford had to maximize its time early on to break that streak. West Point (2-3, 0-1) had the ball more than 10 minutes in the first quarter.
Oxford (5-0, 1-0) fumbled away its first possession. On its second, sophomore quarterback Jack Abraham hit Joey Walden for 77 yards. Kenzie Phillips followed with an 8-yard touchdown run.
After a 15-play drive into the second quarter, Oxford stopped West Point’s Mississippi State commit Aeris Williams on a fourth-and-7. Five plays later, Oxford’s Glenn Gordon capped a 94-yard drive with a 42-yard touchdown on a reverse for a 14-0 lead.
“We’ve got to finish. We know that,” West Point coach Chris Chambless said.
After a Marcel Pegues’ interception of West Point quarterback Josh Ewing, Phillips scored a second touchdown, a 3-yard run, to put Oxford up 21-0 at the half.
Kicker Cody Mills hit field goals of 35, 29 and 18 yards in the second half. The second came after a tested Chargers defense missed four tackles on Lacequiu Starks’ 48-yard touchdown run cut the Oxford lead to 24-13. The third followed Williams’ second touchdown to get the Green Wave within a touchdown at 27-20 midway through the fourth.
“They got real tired. You could tell we were gassed, had a couple injured who couldn’t come back,” Hill said. “But they rose to the occasion.”
Oxford made it 21-0 on Phillips’ second touchdown, a 3-yard run after Marcel Pegues’ interception of West Point quarterback Josh Ewing.
Williams finished with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries.
Abraham completed 13-of-24 for 238 yards and saw two touchdowns dropped.
Oxford played without Ole Miss committed receiver DK Metcalf, who was out with a broken foot.