Tupelo tunes up with West Point

TUPELO – Nathan Wallace had a quarter to remember and one to forget during his debut Friday as Tupelo’s starting quarterback.
The junior completed his first four passes for 116 yards and a touchdown during the opening 12 minutes in the Golden Wave’s preseason scrimmage against visiting West Point.
His second quarter included two interceptions, one of which was batted at the line of scrimmage. He finished with 4-of-7 for 140 yards.
“That was perfect execution of how we can be effective when our quarterback plays within himself,” Tupelo offensive coordinator Andy Crotwell said of Wallace’s first quarter. “Nathan was very effective.”
“The second quarter was a product of inexperience.”
Wallace, who was LSU signee Chris Garrett’s backup the last two seasons, felt good about his first starting assignment.
His first-quarter TD pass was a 45-yard connection with speedy Terrell Pinson on a slant.
“I thought we did well offensively,” he said. “A lot of people didn’t think we’d do well as far as the offense goes, but I thought we played good football.”
Tupelo’s first team scored its other points on a 37-yard field goal by Luke Hobson. Wallace set up the points with two completions – 17 yards to Jeremy Foster and 25 to Pinson.
The Golden Wave has two weeks to prepare for its season opener Aug. 28 at New Hope.
“We did things we wanted to do … things we can evaluate on film,” Tupelo head coach Eric Collins said. “I would like to have seen us be more physical, but that didn’t happen. But, after just two days in pads, that can be expected.”
Nothing fancy
West Point, which opens its season next Friday at Shannon, gave head coach Chris Chambless a lot of what he expected.
The coach was “very pleased” with the work of his two quarterbacks – Justin Cox and Cedric Burns.
Cox and Michael Carr hooked up on a wide receiver screen for a 44-yard touchdown on the scrimmage’s first play. He also hit Carr on a fade pattern for an 11-yard score.
Running back Jeremy Cannon’s 3-yard run with 1 minute, 29 seconds remaining in the session gave the Green Wave a 20-10 lead.
“I wished our defense could have gotten more work, but the offense kept the ball,” Chambless said. “That’s West Point football.”
The run-oriented Green Wave, with Burns at the wheel, produced a clock-eating, 15-play drive in the second quarter that was stopped on downs by Tupelo at its own 1-yard line.
“I wish we could have seen more intensity from a few areas, but it’s all things we can fix,” Chambless said.
Contact Gene Phelps at gene.phelps@djournal.com or 678-1593

Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal