By Brandon Walker
Daily Times Leader
Can the West Point Green Wave make it 4-for-4?
Three times in the past 10 years, West Point has clashed with the Oxford Chargers in the postseason, and all three times West Point has advanced while Oxford moved on to basketball season.
Friday night, the Chargers will get their latest shot at eliminating the defending state champs.
This time, the Chargers will have homefield advantage, as West Point will travel to face the Chargers in the second round of the Class 5A Playoffs. These teams have been here before, as West Point pulled out consecutive victories at Oxford in the 2006 and 2007 playoffs, though West Point head coach Chris Chambless knows those two games might as well be ancient history.
“None of that matters now,” said Chambless. “This is the playoffs, and no matter who you play, it’s going to be a tough game. We know Oxford will be gunning for us, but we will be gunning for them, too. This is what it’s all about.”
West Point also eliminated Oxford in the 2005 North State Championship game on the way to its fifth state championship. This year’s clash seems to have taken on the big-game feel of the 2005 meeting, as both teams enter Friday night on a roll.
Since losing back-to-back games to New Hope and West Point midway through the season, Oxford has won six straight games, including a convincing 49-14 win in Friday night’s playoff opener. Likewise, West Point enters the game on a streak, winners of nine straight after their lone loss to Starkville in week 4.
In their previous meeting, the West Point defense thwarted a last-minute two-point conversion attempt by Oxford to preserve a 22-20 victory. Chambless knows that this week’s game should be just as tough.
“They are a very well-coached team and they don’t make many mistakes,” Chambless said. “We always get their best shot, and that’s what we expect this time. Then again, it’s the playoffs, and it’s like that every week.”
On the season, Oxford is 9-3 with losses to Lafayette, New Hope and West Point.
The winner of Oxford and West Point will face the New Hope-Ridgeland winner for the chance to go to Jackson.