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 kids’ behavior over the weekend.
“I’ve had seven emails from Vince Carter’s Restaurant, the hotel we stayed in, coach (John) Maronto and the stadium staff,” Chambless said. “Everything has been very positive.”
The team was lodged from Thursday night until Saturday morning, and Chambless says the West Point players caused no incidents during that time.
“The hotel said that they have hosted a lot of groups, and we were the best acting and most respectful group they’ve ever hosted. That makes you feel good.”
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.
“I didn’t expect to have problems, but you know how it is when you carry off 70 or 80 kids,” Chambless said. “You might expect to have one or two problems. We had zero.”
Chambless says that his group made a commitment to go to Florida and make West Point look good on and off the field.
“The guys and us decided that we were going to go out of state and represent the best we could,” Chambless said. “The parents in this community have done a great job of raising these kids. We had zero problems.”
The community seemed to be behind the Green Wave’s trip 100 percent, providing money, as well as fan support at the game. Chambless says the players repaid in kind.
“The community ought to be proud of them,” Chambless said. “They represented us well, and that’s just a great reflection of West Point I believe.”
Chambless said that leaving Florida without incident was very important to his players.
“One of the things they wanted to do was to do well for the community,” Chambless said. “That’s what they did.”
It was the West Point community Chambless says his boys were playing for, and it was that community’s support before, during and after Friday night’s event that has meant so much to the Green Wave.
“The way the community got behind us on this trip, it was almost like having a home game at their stadium,” Chambless said. “There’s over 300 fans that came. That’s a lot.”
Chambless says that he recalls hearing the crowd go non-stop from the sidelines. On plays that went West Point’s way, they let Mainland’s 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.
“They all sat behind our bench, and you could hear them the whole game,” Chambless said. “They were louder than Mainland’s fans who were spread out all over their stands.”
Chambless says that there was not much difference between the mood on the field, the sidelines or the stands.
“We were in the zone the whole game,” Chambless said. “Every moment, every coach, every player and I believe every fan was right there, captured in the moment. Man that was great.”
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.