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West Point started their journey to Jackson against the number four seeded Canton Tigers from Region 2 5-A.
The Tigers put their best effort forward, but that effort was no match for a dominant Green Wave team. West Point led throughout the game after Tez Laneâ€™s first touchdown run from 34 yards out in the first quarter. Following that there was no looking back, as the Wave went on to crush their first round foe with the final score of 38-0.
Once again, Lane and Aeris Williams helped carry the workload for the West Point offense. Lane on the night had 10 carries racking up 140 rushing yards along with Williamsâ€™s tally of 18 touches for 155 rushing yards combining for just less than 300 yards. But it was not just Lane and Williams, West Point used many different offensive formations to involve Ladarius Patterson (3 carries for 16 yards) and Roger Thomas (3 carries for 42 yards) who chipped away at the Tiger defense. Lane threw seven times completing two passes for 45 yards and one touchdown, a connection between Lane and Peair Howard for 31 yards. Friday nightâ€™s game displayed West Pointâ€™s versatility on the offensive side of the ball.
If the West Point defense could be described in one word, it would be dominant. The Green Wave was relentless and earned the shutout against Canton. The defensive line stood like a brick wall and created a nightmare for Cantonâ€™s backfield as time and time again gaining yards on the ground was next to impossible for the Tigers. West Pointâ€™s pressure in the backfield caused turnovers in Cantonâ€™s passing attack. Nelson McIntosh and Cortez Young recorded interceptions on the night helping the Green Wave cause.
â€śOur defense has played well all year,â€ť said Coach Chris Chambless about his Green Wave defense, â€śWe had a breakdown or two, but we overcame them tonight.â€ť
The first quarter started with an impressive three and out by the West Point defense, a common occurrence all night. And it was not long before the Wave scored. Only taking three plays and fifty seconds, West Point found the scoreboard in the first quarter, when Lane dodged a group of Tiger defenders and scampered into the end zone from thirty-four yards out. Eric Lemus tacked on his first of five successful extra point tries on the night making the score 7-0 in favor of the Green Wave with 9:51 left in the first. Another short Canton three and out set up a long West Point drive with starting field position at the Waveâ€™s own one yard line. But it only took eight plays and 4 minutes to travel 99 yards and find the end zone again, the Green Waveâ€™s Williams pushed his way in from three yards out bringing the score to 14-0 with 3:54 in the first quarter. After the first quarter touchdowns, the Wave could not get the same spark in the second quarter. The first half ended with the score at 14-0 and the game leaning towards West Point.
The third quarter started as everybody in the green and white wanted, with another Green Wave touchdown. Lane showed fantastic composure when a bad snap flew over his head in the shotgun formation, he immediately scooped the ball up and started down the field. After making a couple of Canton defenders miss and finding open space, Lane scored darting around the field for 52 yards. The ensuing PAT was good and West Point began to run Canton out of the stadium, leading 21-0 with 10:19 in the third quarter. The Wave defense stepped up big time immediately after the West Point touchdown when McIntosh picked off Cantonâ€™s quarterback Fred Smith at the Green Wave 48 and returned it inside Cantonâ€™s 35. The first Wave offensive play saw Lane connect with Howard for a 31 yard touchdown pass taking the score to 28-0 with 8:44 left in the third. After a fifteen minute scoring drought, West Point finally capitalized with a Lemus 20-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. And when it rains, it pours. The following squib kick-off saw the Tigers mishandle the ball, knocking the football into the end zone allowing for Ladarius Patterson to fall on it for six. Within 10 seconds, the Green Wave had put ten points on the board finalizing the scoring on the night. The final score read 38-0 and a first round victory for West Point.
â€śWe are getting better in all areas of the game,â€ť commented Coach Chambless on the Green Waveâ€™s victory.
Friday nightâ€™s win allows the Wave to punch their ticket into the second round of the 5-A playoffs where they will host the #2 seed Ridgeland Titans. A definite clash will occur next Friday night in West Point when another high powered offense similar to Oxford rolls into town. â€śItâ€™s a big game against the Titans,â€ť said Coach Chambless, â€śRidgeland will be up to the challenge, and we need to be ready to bring our â€śAâ€ť game.â€ť