By Bryan Davis
Almost two dozen seniors will be recognized on the field prior to tonight’s division game between the West Point Green Wave (7-1; 4-0) and the Saltillo Tigers (3-5; 0-4). Moments later, the 23 upper class men will be taking the home field for the final time during the regular season.
“Senior nigh is one of those things you dread as a player,” West Point head coach Chris Chambless said. “It’s the last time you play on your home field in a regular season game.”
Chambless said on Thursday that those players should get fired up and play extra hard during the Wave’s final home game of the season.
“It’s very gratifying to bring to an end a very successful career as a high school football player,” Chambless said. “It’s something they’ll always remember. These will be the best times of their lives.”
That final home match will come against another tough opponent. Though the Tigers are winless in district play, they have been known to put points on the scoreboard in 2010.
“They’re much improved from last year,” said West Point head coach Chris Chambless. “They are very well coached. You can tell by their fundamental technique, they’ve got some good players.”
The Tigers will feature a running game led by Quad Freeman, a 225 pound running back. They will also have Obrien Steward in the backfield as well.
“He can fly,” Chambless said.
Chambless said that quarterback Chase Watkins will be a threat in the passing department as well. He has passed for 448 yards and three touchdowns this season. Chambless says he will be well protected.
“The offensive line does a decent job,” Chambless said. “They step right. They do the fundamental things the offensive line is supposed to do.”
As with every team the Green Wave have faced in division play in 2010, things should be tougher than they were in 2009, when the Green Wave won the district and the state title.
“It’s going to be a much more difficult game than it was last year, just like every game we’ve played so far this year,” Chambless said. “I’m trying to emphasize to the players that everybody has gotten better, and we’re going to get everybody’s best shot times two.”
The Green Wave are coming off a 28-27 win over Lake Cormorant. The week before, they defeated Oxford by a two-point spread 22-20.
“We’re going to have to fight and claw our ways through ball games and find ways to win,” Chambless said. “We’ve been able to do that.”
The Green Wave are winners of five in a row, after falling in week three to Starkville, at home. Since that time, they have gone undefeated in district play.
“We are getting a little better each game, in certain aspects,” Chambless said. “Last week, we had the best offensive output we’ve had all season. The only people that stopped us was ourselves, and we’re going to improve on that this week.”
Chambless said yesterday that the team had some of its best practices of the season, preparing for the Saltillo match.
“We are getting better practice habits,” Chambless said. “We had three great practices this week, with a lot of focus and a lot of up tempo. We’ve had more up tempo practices than we had last week. You’re able to sleep a little better at night as coaches when you get to go home saying you had a pretty good day today. We’ve never just had a completely bad day, but certain aspects are better than others.”
Chambless said that his defending state champions are just now getting loose and the best is yet to come for the Green Wave.
“This week has been good, the whole practice, everyday,” Chambless said. “The kids have bounced around and have had a lot of fun.”
Kickoff tonight is at 7 p.m. That will be preceded by a 6 p.m. recognition of the seniors. Homecoming ceremonies will take place at half time.