September 17, 2010 8:48:00 AM
Another week. Another rivalry matchup for the West Point High School football team.
Not that coach Chris Chambless minds, but coming off a heart-breaking 21-20 loss to Starkville High, he knows the importance of bouncing back at 7:30 tonight against Noxubee County (4-0). Chambless watched his team blow a 20-0 lead against the Yellow Jackets, turn the ball over three times in the second half, and commit four personal foul penalties in the loss. Carrying that lack of discipline into district play, which begins in a week, isn''t ideal for a team looking to repeat as Class 5A state champions.
To Chambless, the loss to Starkville wasn''t nearly as disappointing as how his team dropped the game.
"We had to face adversity and we couldn''t overcome it," Chambless said. "Starkville got in our heads a little bit and we didn''t respond the way we normally do. I''m dead set we''re going to have some good character and face adversity head on."
Outside of the Green Wave''s personal foul penalties, Chambless wasn''t pleased with the play of his pass defense or the two turnovers on their first two drives of the second half.
Chambless believes the pass interference penalties stem from playing physical football, and in most interference cases flags are based on judgment calls from referees. Chambless doesn''t want his defensive backfield to change how they play based on the second half of the Starkville loss.
"Around here it''s like a funeral when you lose," Chambless said, "but I don''t want that to affect how we play or prepare. We''ve got faith in those guys back there. You''re going to make mistakes. You''re going to get pass interference calls. Things are going to happen. We''re going to always play physical. We just need to continue to work on the mental aspect of the game."
Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter said he can''t remember a West Point (2-1) team losing back-to-back games, especially at home. Although Shorter expects a title-worthy performance from the Green Wave, he hasn''t lit up his locker room with motivational speeches. The matchup, in his eyes, speaks for itself as two of the state''s top programs clash in the coverage area''s premier game tonight.
"Practice has been intense and focused without having to say a word of motivation," Shorter said. "What we have talked about managing the hype. This is big-time, so staying focused is important."
Focus, for both coaches, is a paramount in a game between talented opponents. But staying healthy, at least for Noxubee County, is starting to become a concern.
As if losing linebacker/fullback Antonio Ryland, offensive lineman Tommy Lane, and defensive back Dennis Brooks to season-ending injuries wasn''t enough, the Tigers hoped to make it through their blowout win against Greenville-Weston without injury. But the Tigers lost another starting offensive lineman when Javodkis Tate broke his hand last Friday. Tate is expected to miss three weeks
The Tigers suffered another injury setback when wideout Janardreon Jones, who had been nursing a knee injury, broke the tip of his finger in practice this week. Jones, who is game-time decision, contributes in the kicking game, where the Tigers have already lost two snappers and moved starting kicker Kamal Chamberlain to snapper.
Special teams is a concern for Shorter, who watched his team miss four extra points last week. He also noted the kickoff returned for a touchdown against the Green Wave last season.
"That''s what got us beat last year," Shorter said of West Point''s return. "With both teams evenly matched, I feel this game will come down to big plays. Special teams is an area where we have to play extremely well and not give up big plays to West Point."
West Point has a pair of players -- tight end Michael Bush and defensive back Jaquille White -- questionable for tonight''s game.
wpmedic1 commented at 9/17/2010 11:38:00 PM:
The Clarion Ledger ranks Noxubee ahead of West Point this week then turns around and favors WP by 11 over Noxubee. Is there anybody at that paper that is alive. WP wins by 15 which means WP pulled off the upset??