Green Wave weathers conditions for big road victory

MACON – West Point head coach Chris Chambless could have easily grabbed his players’ attention this week. All it would have taken was a simple reminder of last year’s embarrassing shutout loss to rival Noxubee County.
However, neither Chambless nor his assistant coaches had to utter a word. It was the Green Wave players doing all the reminding.
West Point (3-1) jumped out to a 20-0 lead and held off a late charge to knock off Noxubee County 20-12, ending the state’s longest winning streak at 18 games.
“We didn’t even mention (last year’s 42-0 loss),” said Chambless. “But our players told the coaches about it all week long. We didn’t have the best week of practice, either, with all the weather. But our coaches called a great game, and our players overcame the weather to get it done. The weather hurt us and also played to our advantage.”
In a matter of three minutes and five seconds, West Point took early control in the second half on a wet and sloppy playing surface. West Point’s Gary Hughes returned the opening kickoff 76 yards to boost the Green Wave’s lead to 14-0.
Then on the ensuing kickoff, West Point recovered a fumble and quarterback Justin Cox made it count with a four-yard touchdown run with 8:55 left in the third quarter.
“We did a great job of grabbing the momentum right out of the gates,” said Chambless. “We knew we had to grab some early momentum because like basketball, we knew Noxubee County was going to make a run.”

Champions respond
And that the Tigers (4-1) did.
The defending Class 4A state champions scored back-to-back touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 20-12 with 6:18 left to play.
But West Point’s defense would not surrender another first down the rest of the game.
“Noxubee County said we were soft coming in,” said West Point senior defensive tackle Curtis Virges. “So we had to get very physical tonight and prove our toughness. We did lose our focus in that fourth quarter, but we found just enough to put us back on track in this rivalry.”
Cox also helped produce West Point’s first points of the game. With 9:38 left in the second quarter, Carr took advantage of 1-on-1 coverage and hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass from Cox to give West Point the 6-0 halftime advantage.
“We knew we had to make big plays tonight,” said Carr. “All we were thinking was to stay humble and make plays. This game has been on all of our minds since the minute they beat us last year.”
West Point limited the Tigers to just two first downs and 39 total yards in the opening 24 minutes. The Green Wave defense denied Noxubee County inside their own 10-yard line twice late in the first half to preserve their six-point lead.

Paul Jones