Opposing viewpoint: West Point

Staff Writer

There are very few programs that can hold a candle to what West Point has done over the course of time and Chris Chambless has been as big a part of it as any coach before him.

Since Chambless took over in 2006, the Green Wave have won four of their nine state championships and Chambless has yet to have a losing season. He’s 85-31 during that time and just so happens to be in the middle of a 31-game winning streak that stands second in the state currently behind three-time Class A State champion Simmons.

The key to success for Chambless is pretty simple. It starts in the root of the community.

“Tradition is the main thing and you’ll go as your leadership goes on the team,” Chambless said of West Point’s success. “I’ve had teams with good athletes and not good leadership and you go 8-5, then you have years with great leadership and you go a little further and win it all.

“The players are playing for more than just the school. They’re playing for the community. They don’t want to let people down. They want to go out on Friday nights and compete and the work is done Monday through Thursday.”

Ahead of Friday’s monster showdown between the top two teams in the state of Mississippi, the No. 2 Green Wave are out to prove that they belong back in the number one spot. The last team to beat West Point was Starkville two seasons ago and the Green Wave reeled off consecutive state titles in 2016 and 2017.

Coach Chris Jones wasn’t at Starkville at the time, but he doesn’t need any introduction to West Point. Jones played against the Green Wave in his high school days and lost a 28-3 blowout on the road last season as his first defeat as SHS coach.

The type of team that Jones played many years ago doesn’t look much different than the ones that Chambless is putting on the field. West Point has developed a culture that resonates from a young age all the way through high school.

“It’s the same system,” Jones said. “To me, that’s the biggest deal. You’ve got a group of kids that have been playing the same system since pee wee and junior high. That’s why there’s never really a drop off, because they’re not learning anything new. It’s all about body and player development and when they get older, they transform into better football players.”

A few of those players that were transformed and sent off to the next level left big shoes to fill. Marcus Murphy was the biggest loss for the Green Wave after a phenomenal two-year run on the offensive side of the football to lead them to those two state titles.

In fact, the Green Wave had one of its most successful year of putting players in college football in recent memory. The first two games have suggested that the program doesn’t rebuild – it reloads.

“When you win back-to-back state championships, I’m pretty sure there’s still some talent left in the school building,” Jones said of West Point. “When you do a great job of building a program, there is never going to be a down, down year. There’s a difference between a good team and a good program. That’s a good program.”