August 14, 2010 11:04:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- New year, same old story for the West Point High School football team.
Led by a 77-yard rushing effort from senior quarterback Justin Cox, West Point grinded it out for 251 yards Saturday en route t a 35-0 victory against Itawamba Agricultural High at the Fall Football Jamboree at Mississippi State''s Davis Wade Stadium.
The rushing total was even more impressive considering the Green Wave, the defending Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state champion, did in only two quarters of varsity action. Eight players had a chance to tote the ball, led by Cox and LaKenderic Thomas, who added 55 yards.
Cox scored on a 31-yard run, while Thomas had a 14-yard scoring run.
"We have our own identity and that''s what they''re trying to establish," West Point coach Chris Chambless said. "A four-quarter game is different from a two-quarter game, so we''re going to try to get into better shape and see if we can fight the heat."
Makarios Sears scored on a 4-yard run, Tez Pulliam added touchdown runs of 4 and 29 yards.
West Point didn''t complete a pass and threw one interception, but it didn''t need to light it up through the air because it ran through and over the Class 4A Indians all night.
Chambless said his team will work hard to get into better condition this week as it prepares to face Shannon at 7:30 p.m. Friday in its season opener. Last year, West Point suffered its only loss of the Class 5A state championship season in the opener at Shannon.
The Green Wave looked Saturday like they were ready to make another title run even without senior defensive lineman Vontarrius Dora and senior running back Jacoby Lee. Chambless said Dora wasn''t cleared yet, and that he didn''t anticipate having him for the Shannon game. He wasn''t sure if Lee, who was held out for precautionary reasons, would be ready for Friday.
Without leaders Iike Michael Carr, Curtis Virges, and Xavier Hogan, just to name a few, from last year, Cox and Thomas showed they are ready to step into even bigger roles this season.
"They were in the roles last year, and with Carr and Virges gone several others have stepped up," Chambless said. "We have leaders from last year who are gone that were great leaders. Everybody has done a good job of stepping up."
The defense also looked to be in fine form. The Green Wave limited Itawamba to two first downs and held quarterback Mikhail Miller to 1 of 13 passing for 7 yards. He only gained 1 yard rushing on nine carries.
The Indians had only 7 yards rushing in the two-quarter varsity jamboree.
Tommy Keys, Brandon Edwards, and Monty McIlwain were in on a sack on Itawamba Agricultural''s third play from scrimmage, which set the tone. Deismon Robinson had a solo sack and teamed with Edwards on another sack.
"Our secondary played well," Chambless said. "We missed a couple of picks I thought we should have made, but that is part of the game. We will look at the film and point out some stuff that will make them better and give them more confidence to make plays like that."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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