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West Point's Carr seeks redemption after loss to Shannon


Adam Minichino



WEST POINT -- Michael Carr doesn''t need a DVD player. 


He doesn''t need a remote control for a VCR. 


The West Point High School senior has all the pictures and replays he needs in his head. 


They''re one he would like to forget. 


Carr has had two weeks to relive the memory of Shannon''s 27-20 season-opening victory against West Point. 


The loss was painful enough, but Carr has had plenty of time to relive what looked like a sure interception go through his hands and into the arms of Keon McGaughy for the game-winning touchdown. 


Carr slumped to the ground after the play and didn''t speak to members of the media after the Aug. 21 classic game. 


But Carr talked Thursday about the game and said he and his teammates will use that experience to help them at 7:30 tonight when they play host to Columbus (1-1). 


"It was hard to take," Carr said. "It really humbled me. I flipped over and laid on the ground and I was like, ''It ain''t like me to do something like that.'' ... I had the ball in my hand but it had to happen in order for me to say this is really my last year. That made me more intense and made me play more to my full potential." 


Carr said he plans to re-dedicate himself to being a team leader who pushes and encourages his teammates not to complain, to stay focused, and to give their best effort every play. 


Senior Jeremy Cannon said more players could have stepped up to play a bigger role, but he said the team will have to put that game behind it. As painful as the loss was, he knows the Green Wave still is a championship-caliber team that is capable of making a run at a Class 5A state title. 


However, he said West Point can''t afford to make as many mistakes (penalties, missed coverages) as it did against Shannon. 


"All of us want the same goal: To make it to Jackson," Cannon said. "It was little mistakes, like not going hard every play, taking a play off, and not taking care of our bodies." 


West Point and Shannon suffered from cramping throughout the game, which was played on a humid evening. 


Senior running back Xavier Hogan was one of the Green Wave players who cramped up. Still, he rushed for 183 yards on 22 carries. 


This week, Hogan said the Green Wave will be ready. 


"It has been hectic because after that loss we really wanted to go out and prove ourselves and hungry to play again," Hogan said. "Last week, that was our week to really work on us. This week, we got on Columbus." 


Hogan said penalties that shouldn''t have happened and missed blocks killed the Green Wave in the opener. He said the goal the past two weeks was to become a "perfect" football team. 


He knows that will be a difficult task, but when it''s one the team will have to embrace if it wants to realize its title aspirations. 


"I think we took a large step, but you''re supposed to take a step every day," Hogan said. "You can''t get perfect in a week or two. You have to strive to strive. When we get to state, that''s when we''ll be perfect." 


West Point coach Chris Chambless said it has been a long two weeks to wait to get on the field again. He said he never has experienced an open week, but likes the fact that it is early in the season so his team now will play straight through until the end of the season. 


Chambless said the Green Wave had great weeks of preparation to work to eliminate self-inflicted wounds. 


"You''re rusty when you go into the first game anyway, but when you make the boneheaded mistakes the rust tends to stay on the whole game or fall off halfway through the game," Chambless said. "We can overcome mistakes like that. That is one thing that made us feel better about ourselves -- that those are little things that we can correct and that they aren''t things that are going to linger." 


Carr hopes a performance tonight that is more up to West Point standards will help him to put the memory of the Shannon game behind him.  


"It humbled us," Carr said. "We''re still hungry, and we''re pushing ourselves hard."


Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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