• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Recap: West Point 22 Oxford 8

West Point and Oxford meet each year to kick off region 1-5A play kicked off. It is a matchup that usually decides the regular season winner of the division. In 2015 the Chargers defeated the Green Wave for the 5A crown. It marked the fifth consecutive time for Oxford win in this bitter rivalry.

On Friday night, in West Point, that streak ceased and a new one began. Marcus Murphy, Clayton Knight, Terrence Cherry, Chris Chambless and West Point were able to beat the reigning 5A North champs 22-8.

Hiram Wadlington’s scoring run from a yard out, followed by a two-point conversion from JR McClure put Oxford up 8-0 with 2:57left in the opening quarter. McClure found Damarea Burt on a key fourth down and five to continue the drive.

After that drive, however, there were few positive from Chris Cutcliffe’s group. West Point would tie the game 18 seconds later on a 67-yard scamper from Marcus Murphy. That was the score at intermission, 8-7, in Oxford’s favor.

Green Wave defensive end Terence Cherry would tally three sacks in the third quarter, part of a dominant defensive effort in the second half. Meanwhile, Murphy put another touchdown on the board from 39 yards out. CJ Melton picked up a fumble and took it in for a score, too.

All in all, at the end, it was a 15-point win for West Point, a team who will inevitably be the favorite in region 1-5A now. Additionally, it was validating because they were able to control the pace and not let the high-powered offense get going or establish rhythm. The Charger offense has been too much in the end lately in this series, but West Point turned a corner on that tonight and that could provide them an edge for the remainder of the season.

DeMario Edwards was impressive when he caught the ball last night, as was Jason Brownlee. Knight was his usual self, scrambling around and making passes on the run. He also stood in the pocket and delivered more than a few good balls.

On the other side, Oxford linebacker Quentin Wilfawn, who came into he game averaging 15.5 tackles per game, was a stud. Especially so in the first half, though, when he came up with an early sack and interception. His pick jumpstarted the only offensive scoring drive.

Even though he rarely was able to really break free, Wadlington was impressive on the night. He was steady in taking the short gains the Green Wave defense gave him. He made some clutch runs on third downs and one fourth and one conversion.

Though Oxford was only able to score once, it was not for lack of opportunity. For most of the night the field position battle was in their favor and they started many drives in advantageous spots. In the first quarter the Charger offensive line was getting great push, especially in the middle. However, that all went away as the second quarter turned into the third. Cherry really changed the tone of the game in the second half. Murphy was the Player of the Game, but Cherry would have been had the star tailback only scored once.

Oxford hosts Saltillo next Friday, while West Point will go on the road to face Clarksdale.

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