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West Point give a taste of 2011 on Saturday

August 11, 2011

West Point will be one of 10 teams on hand Saturday at Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium to provide a little preview of what’s to come for the 2011 football season.

Hosted by New Hope High School, the jamboree kicks off at 11 a.m. when the two-time defending 5A state champions Green Wave take on Louisville. The two teams, once long time rivals on the field, haven’t met since 2006.

Head coach Chris Chambless said it gives the team a chance to get accustomed to the game-day operations throughout the season.

“We’re focusing on mental preparation, physical preparation, getting the kids acclimated to sideline issues, getting the teams on and off the field,” he said. “Just trying to make sure we can do things right.”

Chambless said he knows Louisville is just as prepared as they are.

“I know they’re mentality,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an
exhibition, they want to win.”

The excitement is buzzing around the locker-room as the season draws near and Chambless said the players are ready to go.

“Anytime you get a chance to quit hitting each other and put your game jersey on and play somebody else, there’s always excitement,” he said.
“They’re looking forward to it.”

West Point, New Hope, Starkville, Noxubee County, Philadelphia and Columbus return after playing in the inaugural event last season.

The other games slated include Aberdeen vs. Morton at 1 p.m., followed by McComb vs. Starkville at 3 p.m., Noxubee County vs. Columbus at 5 p.m., and New Hope vs. Philadelphia at 7 p.m.

Each game will feature two quarters of varsity action followed by one quarter of JV action.

Senior quarterback Dequinten Spraggins is looking forward to his first taste of offensive action since the spring game.

“It gives us a chance to get a little feel to see what were made of from Meridian (in the spring game) to the next level,” he said. “It gives us a chance to see how far we have come and what we have to work on. It’s a big step.”

Spraggins said he’s not worried about making the transition from free safety where he played in 2010 helping the Green Wave when a state title. This year, he leads the offensive unit that feature a lot of new starters. He says for Saturday, he’s going to try and keep the offense focused should things not go their way

“I’m not going to let them get down about themselves,” he said. “I want them to stay on that level where they can compete with anybody. If we have that momentum, I don’t want that to drop.”

The Green Wave will kickoff the year against the reigning back-to-back 6A champion South Panola in West Point. The stadium can host roughly 8,000 fans, but the school is planning on bringing temporary bleachers to accommodate the expected near sellout crowd.

In 2004, the match-up with rival Starkville drew almost 12,000 fans.
The Green Wave will travel to Bastesville in 2012 to complete the home-and-home series.

Tickets will be pre-sold Wednesday, August 17 and Thursday, August 18 from 5-7 p.m. inside the athletic office on campus.

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