Friday night, the West Point High Green Wave hosted the Lake Cormorant Gators, defeating them 23-17.
Balmy and slightly chilly, the Green Wave took the field, ready to win their homecoming game. Several standout players made crucial plays in clutch situations to ensure victory by night’s end.
Mario Virges (#20) was a powerhouse for the West Point defense, along with Freddie Reed (#44), Ed Brown (#56) and Lederrius Gallion (#90) on the line. The Green Wave defense was able to really set the pace of the game, while the West Point offense was in charge of time management.
The big problem of the night was fumbling. Early in the first quarter, West Point fumbled close to the one yard line with the Gators recovering. The drive didn’t make it past the Lake Cormorant 30-yard line before Rashad Jones (#17) was able to intercept a pass, giving West Point first and ten at the Lake Cormorant 17. Another fumble on this drive, but Tez Lane (#28) was able to recover, resulting in a drive that gave West Point its first touchdown of the night. The quarter ended at 7-0, West Point.
Lake Cormorant would get onto the board in the opening minute of the second quarter with a field goal (7-3). A West Point fumble on the drive that followed led to a Gator touchdown, bringing the score to 10-7, Gators, with 8:57 left to play in that first half.
Four minutes later, Eric Lemus (#14) was able to put a field goal up for the Green Wave. Anthony Johnson (#10) of West Point intercepted a pass that would give control of the ball back to West Point near the end of the half, but the Wave just wasn’t able to get a momentum going, and as the clock ran out on the half, the score remained tied 10-10.
West Point scored a little past three minutes into the second half, Tez Lane running nine yards into the end zone. On the extra point attempt, Lake Cormorant received its second flag of the night for roughing kicker Eric Lemus.
In addition to quarterback B. Thompson (#2), (#7) R. Golden and (#30) A. Byrd were the big playmakers for the Lake Cormorant Gators. Golden in particular looked like he was coated in Teflon, as hardly any one was able to get a handle on him all night.
The West Point defense had some amazing defensive plays late in the game. Antonio Dent (#57), Brown and Gallion of the Green Wave defensive line seemed to have the Lake Cormorant quarterback’s number. They combined on the final Gator drive of the third quarter for about twenty negative yards, sacking the quarterback in two consecutive plays.
The third quarter ended with a tie score going into the final quarter of the game.
After the Gators had to punt the ball away, just before the end of the third, West Point found itself on their own one-yard line, with 99 yards to go. By 3:33 into the fourth, West Point had traversed the long 99-yard drive to score the final points of the night. Aeris Williams (#22) was able to step over the line and run the last fourteen yards to the end zone. The score stood at 23-17, West Point, there was a fumble on the point after attempt, leaving a six-point gap in the score with 8:27 left to play.
The majority of the quarter was a daunting back and fourth between the Gators and the Green Wave. Ultimately, though, the Gators were unable to gain momentum. West Point slow-played the rest of the quarter. A genuine attempt to put more points on the board was made by the Green Wave in the closing minutes of the game, but once the clock wound to the 2:30 mark, and it seemed as though there was no hope for Lake Cormorant, Coach Chambless let the clock run out to secure the West Point victory 23-17.
“We knew coming in it was going to be tough,” says Coach Chris Chambless. “[Lake Cormorant is] a good football team. We battle every year.”
“We played careful. We knew they had good play potential,” Chambless continued. The team prepared for a team that could make great strides on the field, and West Point was there to turn the tides at every corner.
Next week, West Point goes to Hernando to play the Tigers. Make your travel arrangements early, but be there by 7:30pm to catch the kickoff.