It was a hard fought affair the last time Starkville and West Point met in the playoffs.
A fourth quarter drive led by Starkville Quarterback Gabe Myles put out the then two-time defending 5A champions in West Point 20-14.
Last year was not the Wave’s year in the West Point-Starkville rivalry as the Yellow Jackets doubled up on the Green Wave. But in 2012, West Point won the regular season game in Starkville 47-22, and hopes to find redemption this year in the North Half Championship.
“We respect Starkville so much,” said Head Coach Chris Chambless about the Starkville rivalry, “regular season is out of the window and we are going to have to play well.”
One of the main match-ups to watch will be at the quarterback position. West Point’s Tez Lane and Starkville’s Myles will play key roles for both offenses Friday night. The comparison between Lane and Myles are almost identical though there are some differences. Looking statistically, Myles leads the passing column, completing 75 of his 161 passing attempts accumulating 1,033 yards with 12 touchdowns on the season. Yet the Wave’s Lane has been strong rushing the ball. Lane has carried 191 times for 1,261 yards and 17 touchdowns. It may come down to the last drive again, and Lane feels the West Point attitude is different than last year.
“Last year, we were not there mentally and in football it is about your mentality,” commented West Point’s Lane about getting to play Starkville, “this year we are bringing a new mentality to Starkville.”
Another key factor will be the play of the defense. The Green Wave defense has played lights out in the past few weeks, keeping many of their opponents out of the end zone and preventing many drives from ever starting. Starkville’s defense has played well in district play shutting out four of their seven district mates and allowing only 4 points a game during district play. It will be a battle in the trenches for sure as both the West Point and Starkville front sevens will hound the offensive lines.
The West Point faithful should expect a war when they head over to Starkville Friday. Coach Chambless understands the magnitude of the game but is still keeping focus on the game between the white lines. “Our next game is our biggest game,” said Chambless, “we are humble to be in this position.” It will be a tough game as both teams are ready to compete for the North Half title and a chance to head down to Jackson.