Entering Friday night's road game at Lake Cormorant, West Point head football coach Chris Chambless stressed one fact to his team over and over this week in practice: It's a new season.
After struggling through a brutal non-district schedule with a 1-3 mark, the two-time defending state champions started their new season with a bang Friday night, opening Division 1-5A play with a convincing 42-14 road win over Lake Cormorant.
"We looked much better," said Chambless, who watched his team build up a 42-0 lead after three quarters of play. "In all phases of the game, I thought we played pretty well. The offense clicked, the defense really put pressure on the quarterback. That's the way we have to play in our division."
With the win, West Point improved to 15-0 in Division 1-5A play, dating back to when the Green Wave joined the district in 2009.
This time, the Wave did it with an all-around effort. Senior quarterback DeQuinton Spraggins accounted for three touchdowns, junior tailback Tez Lane ran for 170 yards and a score, and the West Point defense harassed Lake Cormorant quarterback Brett Thompson all night, recording five sacks and forcing a pair of turnovers.
Juniors Freddie reed and Ed Brown recorded two sacks each, and defensive back Jonathan Patterson had an interception for the Wave, who kept the Gators scoreless through three quarters of play. Lake Cormorant added two late touchdowns against West Point's reserves.
"Defensively, it might have been our best performance of the season," said Chambless. "We were able to get them out of sync offensively, and our defensive backs did their job as well."
West Point took control early and never wavered Friday night, scoring 28 first-half points to take command. Spraggins opened the scoring midway through the first quarter, finding fullback Mario Virges for a 16-yard touchdown pass, the first of two for Virges on the night. After the PAT failed, West Point led 6-0 after one quarter. The Wave put the game out of reach in the second quarter with 21 points, as Spraggins opened the period with his third rushing TD of the year, this one a 24-yard scramble into the Lake Cormorant end zone. Sophomore Aries Williams added the 2-point conversion run, giving West Point a 14-0 lead.
Less than three minutes later, after West Point's defense held Lake Cormorant to three plays, Lane scored his lone touchdown of the night on a thrilling 48-yard run that saw Lane escape trouble twice in the West Point backfield before he finally found daylight and outran the LC defense to the end zone.
"That's just him," said Chambless. "Tez is explosive, and he can turn a loss into a huge gain just like that."
Williams added a 5-yard touchdown run late in the half to give West Point the 28-0 lead.
In the second half, Spraggins would strike again, scoring his third touchdown on an 11-yard QB keeper to push the lead to 35-0. Backup QB Jayson Burnett relieved Spraggins, and connected on the first TD pass of his career, a 17-yard connection with Virges to round out the scoring for West Point.
"You always want to start district play on the right foot," said Chambless, "and I thought we did that tonight."
On the night, West Point's offense accounted for 382 yards, with 330 of that on the ground. Lane led the way with 171 yards on 12 carries.
With the win, West Point moves to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in Division 1-5A play. The Green Wave will remain in division play this week, when they host visiting Hernando Friday night.View more articles in: