By Brandon Walker
Daily Times Leader
As soon as Friday night’s quarterfinal victory over Oxford was complete. West Point head coach Chris Chambless had one message for his football team.
“We’ve got one more game to get to where we want to go, and that game is at our house, in front of the best fans in the state,” Chambless said in the postgame huddle.
Upon hearing those words, the Green Wave erupted in cheers, knowing their road to play for a second straight state championship has just one more stop.
And more importantly, that road goes straight through West Point.
Playing in its fourth North State Title game in six seasons, West Point will host Class 5A foe Ridgeland Friday night. With a win, the Green Wave will head to Jackson for the ninth time in school history and will have a shot at a seventh state championship.
First things first. To qualify for Jackson, West Point will have to take down an undefeated Ridgeland team, a squad that keeps finding ways to win. So far this season, the 13-0 Titans have won six games decided by 7 points or less, including Friday night’s 34-27 quarterfinal win over New Hope.
While the Titans will be a challenge, Chambless is just happy to have this one at home.
“You work all season to get to this point and it means the world to us to be able to play this game at our place,” said Chambless. “Our fans are right there with us every step of the way. They were there with us in Florida, here with us tonight in Oxford and next Friday, I hope they will all be there for the biggest game of the season.”
Since taking over the West Point program just prior to the 2006 season, Chambless has coached in two previous north state title games, both on the road. In 2006 the Wave lost at Clarksdale, and in 2009, West Point earned a 41-21 win at New Hope before claiming its sixth state championship one week later.
For a coach who’s won 85 percent of his games at West Point, the chance to play for the north half championship at home is a golden opportunity.
“I think we’ve got the best high school football fans in the world,” said Chambless. “It will be awesome to have a big game like this at home. I hope to see a packed house Friday night.”