November 18, 2012 12:35:45 AM
WEST POINT -- West Point High School quarterback Tez Lane didn't feel like a player who had just scored five touchdowns in a 56-21 victory against Ridgeland High.
Behind the ear-to-ear grin, Lane couldn't help but lament a missed opportunity for his second touchdown pass to a wide-open Aeris Williams. Though he had two long passes of 45 yards or more, the pursuit of perfection was evident in Lane's assessment of his team's performance.
"We knew we couldn't take this team lightly," Lane said. "It's the playoffs. We've been here before. But after last year's loss to Starkville (in the playoffs), we know we have to do everything right. We're trying to play perfect football."
Lane and the Green Wave will travel to Starkville on Friday to play in the Mississippi High School Athletic Association Class 5A North State title game.
West Point hopes to get another dynamic performance from Lane, who ran for 146 yards on 10 carries. He had scoring runs of 13, 14, 50, and 58 yards. The senior had a 64-yard touchdown pass to Terence Minor to give the Green Wave a 35-7 halftime lead. The score was the second of back-to-back one-play scoring drives, the first of which was a 58-yard run by Lane.
"We're no stranger to big plays," West Point coach Chris Chambless said. "When we take shots, we're confident we can convert them."
Lane, who found running room on the edges of an undersized defense, helped open lanes for teammates. Aeris Williams had 71 yards, while Josh Ewing added 43. There were plenty of opportunities through the air, too. Lane had the 64-yard pass to Minor and a 46-yarder to Peair Howard. Both players were wide open as a result of the Green Wave's success on the ground.
"When I missed Aeris, I thought, 'Man, that's been there all game,' " Lane said. "It was a missed opportunity. But other than that, we were happy with the way we moved the ball."
Lane was a sophomore the last time West Point played Ridgeland in 2010, a blowout that propelled the Green Wave to the state title game and the second of consecutive championships. Though he admitted the Green Wave knew they had more talent than the Titans, he lauded his team's intensity and execution in a game in which they were heavily favored.
"There's a lot of experience on this team, and there's a certain standard we have here," Lane said. "We had a good week of practice, so I felt like we would come out and have a good game.
"We've got to keep it going next week in a big rivalry game."