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Daytona Beach told the West Point community several months ago that they were going to be as hospitable as possible when the Green Wave came down to play Mainland High School.
The city lived up to that promise, and the Green Wave football players lived up to their promise to be great guests while in the ocean front community.
West Point head coach Chris Chambless and his 16 assistant coaches took 81 high school football players on a three-day trip, which included two 13 drives, and he could not help but brag on his kidsâ behavior over the weekend.
âIâve had seven emails from Vince Carterâs Restaurant, the hotel we stayed in, coach (John) Maronto and the stadium staff,â Chambless said. âEverything has been very positive.â
The team was lodged from Thursday night until Saturday morning, and Chambless says the West Point players caused no incidents during that time.
âThe hotel said that they have hosted a lot of groups, and we were the best acting and most respectful group theyâve ever hosted. That makes you feel good.â
The coach said that his group is very mature, but he also knows the potential for things to get out of hand when there are that many people in one place.
âI didnât expect to have problems, but you know how it is when you carry off 70 or 80 kids,â Chambless said. âYou might expect to have one or two problems. We had zero.â
Chambless says that his group made a commitment to go to Florida and make West Point look good on and off the field.
âThe guys and us decided that we were going to go out of state and represent the best we could,â Chambless said. âThe parents in this community have done a great job of raising these kids. We had zero problems.â
The community seemed to be behind the Green Waveâs trip 100 percent, providing money, as well as fan support at the game. Chambless says the players repaid in kind.
âThe community ought to be proud of them,â Chambless said. âThey represented us well, and thatâs just a great reflection of West Point I believe.â
Chambless said that leaving Florida without incident was very important to his players.
âOne of the things they wanted to do was to do well for the community,â Chambless said. âThatâs what they did.â
It was the West Point community Chambless says his boys were playing for, and it was that communityâs support before, during and after Friday nightâs event that has meant so much to the Green Wave.
âThe way the community got behind us on this trip, it was almost like having a home game at their stadium,â Chambless said. âThereâs over 300 fans that came. Thatâs a lot.â
Chambless says that he recalls hearing the crowd go non-stop from the sidelines. On plays that went West Pointâs way, they let Mainlandâs stands know who could make the most noise. On plays that went the other way, they let the referees know exactly how they felt about it.
âThey all sat behind our bench, and you could hear them the whole game,â Chambless said. âThey were louder than Mainlandâs fans who were spread out all over their stands.â
Chambless says that there was not much difference between the mood on the field, the sidelines or the stands.
âWe were in the zone the whole game,â Chambless said. âEvery moment, every coach, every player and I believe every fan was right there, captured in the moment. Man that was great.â
The on-field success will likely get the Green Wave called away in the future for long road trips. The off-field behavior the exhibited should leave West Point with no apprehensions about sending them away again.