By Bryan Davis
The West Point ninth grade football team found their defense in the second half of Thursday night’s game, at home, against the Yellowjackets of Starkville. The visitors, on the other hand, left their defense in Starkville, as a wild offensive display resulted in a 50-32 win for West Point and a district title for the Green Wave team.
“The kids played hard,” said Green Wave ninth grade coach Brian Sellers. “These kids have worked hard, they’ve earned it and they deserve it. “It’s because of their blue-collar mentality, which is what this town’s all about.”
Most of the game’s offense came in the first half, as both teams combined for 44 points in the first quarter alone and 64 total in the half.
Aires Williams was West Point’s number one ball carrier for the night. He got the Green Wave on the board 48 seconds into the game with 49-yard touchdown run. He would rush in for the two-point conversion seconds later to make it 8-0 West Point.
There was no stopping Starkville in the early going either. Just 13 seconds after Williams put the Green Wave in front, the Yellowjackets responded with a 55-yard run for a touchdown. The first half became the battle over the two-point conversion, and West Point won that, holding Starkville at six points.
Averaging nearly seven points a minute, the game continued with a drive that culminated with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Williams to make it 16—6, after the two-point conversion.
Starkville promptly responded, taking just 23 seconds off the clock in rout to another touchdown to make it 16-14 after a successful two-point try.
On West Point’s next drive, the Green Wave finally started to eat some real time off the clock, going nine plays to their next score. It was Williams again, from 12 yards out to make it 24-14. Williams converted the two-point try himself.
With 36 seconds to go in the half, Starkville struck fast, with a 50-yard run to make it 24-20 going into the second quarter.
At the start of the second, it looked as if West point was going to pull away, as Williams finished off a seven-play drive with a five-yard touchdown run, with a two-point conversion. This made it 32-20, but Starkville, true to form, would answer on the next drive to make it 32-26.
“We went into halftime and talked about some of the things they were doing to us,” Sellers said. “We made some adjustments.”
West Point would respond again, going 50 yards, as Williams scored his second five-yard touchdown in the quarter, with 43 seconds left on the clock. This made it 38-26 going into the third period.
The second half belonged to West Point, as the defense kicked in, allowing just a touchdown to Starkville. The Yellowjackets were actually forced to bring out their punting team for the first time in the fourth quarter.
“The two stops were big,” Sellers said. “Obviously, that was the difference in the game.”
With eight minutes to go in the fourth, West Point surrendered the only turnover of the game, a fumble that came to nothing for Starkville.
Williams scored a four-yard touchdown with 1:02 to go in the third to make it 44-32. He would add a two-yard score with less than four minutes to go in the fourth to seal the district win for the Green Wave.
On Starkville’s last attempt to stay in the game, A.J. Jones intercepted a pass for the death knell.