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West Point ground game grinds down New Hope


By David Miller, Special to The Dispatch



NEW HOPE -- The "A-Train" was rolling Friday night. 


Aeris Williams brought his West Point High School football teammates along, too, for a marathon 76-50 victory against New Hope. 


Williams, a Mississippi State commitment, had 23 carries for 227 yards and five touchdowns. Backfield mate Roger Thomas had 148 yards on 10 carries, and Lacequiu Starks had eight carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns. 


West Point's 76 points are the most since the Green Wave beat Caledonia 66-0 in 2008, and the most dating back to 1994. 


West Point (6-2, 4-2 Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 1) is third in district play and will close the season next week against Lewisburg. 


West Point rushed for 648 yards and averaged 10 yards per carry. The point total and rushing yardage is the highest for the Green Wave under coach Chris Chambless, who has guided the program to two state titles. 


"I've never been a part of anything like that as a coach," Chambless said. 


The game featured smack-talk from both teams, as each side had big plays in what both acknowledged is a rivalry game. 


"When you come into hostile territory like this, you have to have it in your mind that's it 'hostile' ... you can't forget that," Thomas said. "You have to go harder. We had a mind-set, that state championship mind-set. We brought what we had and put our hearts on the field." 


Said West Point offensive lineman Kadarius Forside, "Every time we play them, there's always something. ... We just don't get along. It made us play harder, though. We don't want to say stuff or get thrown out. We want to get to a state championship." 


Rivalry aside, West Point's ground game was the reason for the celebration. It was so dominant it needed to complete only one pass. 


Forside said the offense didn't play perfectly, but it played close to it. 


"It'll be a lot of fun (to watch the game film)," Forside said. "We could get this every game if we all play at the level we did tonight ... play West Point football." 


Although Thomas didn't score a touchdown, he was happy with his 148 yards because he wasn't sure he'd be healthy for the game after playing with a high-ankle sprain. 


"I didn't know how I was gonna make out, but without my team, my line, they gave it to me," Thomas said. "I had to take it." 


New Hope (4-6, 2-4) made it interesting thanks to junior quarterback Brady Davis (18 of 47 for 467 yards), who threw five touchdown passes and ran for another. His late-game efforts included touchdown passes of 51, 68, and 77 yards in the last 14 minutes. His quick start helped New Hope take a 10-0 lead to start the game and a 17-14 lead into the second quarter. 


"We saw some things we thought we could take advantage of," New Hope coach Shawn Gregory said. "It was our best performance of the year, but we didn't have 77 points in us tonight." 


Chambless said his secondary, which has only one starter in the same position since the start of the season (Dvanta Randle), bit on double-move routes and blew coverage assignments. But he praised Davis, who he called "one of the best passing quarterbacks in the state." 


"It seemed like everything Brady threw up they went and caught," Chambless said. "We're gonna keep working and getting better. We're playing hard (defensively), but we have to play smarter."



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