SHS, West Point – rivalry between traditional powers
Two communities, a huge rivalry and nine state championships combined.
That's what makes the Starkville-West Point series special for all of those involved.
Anytime the Yellowjackets and Green Wave meet on the football field, it creates the intensity of a playoff matchup. The next chapter takes place Friday in Clay County with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.
"You can throw everything out the window," West Point coach Chris Chambless said. "It's Starkville-West Point and you are going to get a hard-fought game. Starkville is going to come in here with one thing in mind and that's wanting to win. It's going to be a tough game for us. We just hope we can compete with them and see what we can do. When it's rivalry week, anything can happen."
The Green Wave own the most state championships between the two schools with five. They won Class 4A titles in 1987, 1988 and 2005, and Class 5A crowns in 1989 and last season.
Chambless said West Point is a close-knit town that loves its football and was happy to bring another state championship home last season.
"They just support us 100 percent all of the time no matter what," Chambless said. "It's a lot nicer when you win a state championship, then getting to see the smile on everyone's face and putting up a little bit more pride, especially during the economic times we have. It's pretty special."
Chambless came to the Green Wave as an assistant coach with Dennis Allen in 1999 and the two men won a state title together in 2005. When Allen stepped down as coach, Chambless was promoted and kept the program competitive and back to the top last season.
"Coach Allen worked real hard trying to get the program back and trying to keep it there has been pretty tough too, but it's an on-going process every day," Chambless said.
It appears West Point is on the way to having another successful season after defeating Shannon 39-14 and Mainland, Fla., 14-0.
Chambless said the victory against an out-of-state school makes an early statement about where the Green Wave stand, but cautions that it's just one game and the focus must be on improvement.
"It's not how you start, it's how you finish," Chambless said. "We are hoping to just get better every week and get better every day in practice. We were fortunate enough to go down (to Florida) and play well. We played hard against a very good football team. I was pleased with the way we played. That's just one game and you've got to do it week in and week out. It's something we hope to continue."
West Point had an open date last week and Chambless said it came at a good time. It gave the Green Wave time to recover from such a long road trip.
When it comes to playing Starkville, a program that owns four state championships of its own (1984, 1994, 1995 and 2001), Chambless knows the task of reaching 3-0 this season won't be easy.
He respects the job head coach Jamie Mitchell and his staff have already done with the Jackets (1-2).
"The excitement is back and coach Mitchell has them playing hard," Chambless said. "It's to be expected. You can tell they want to win."