WEST POINT — At a program known for lining up and pounding opposing defenses into submission, the backfield tandem of Tez Lane and Aeris Williams don’t disappoint.
On Friday, Lane and Williams added a little spice to the West Point High School football team’s offense. Lane put his passing skills on display to help the offense rack up big yardage, while Williams chimed in with a bruising ground game.
That offensive versatility combined with a smothering defense in West Point’s 42-0 victory against Clarksdale in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 1 game.
“We worked hard this week on me waiting on blocks and setting my feet to throw,” Lane said. “Coach says I can throw pretty good, I just try to do everything too fast.”
Lane may need to slow things down when he’s passing the ball, but he’s not slowing down any when he takes off running. The senior quarterback skipped and scooted his way through the defense for 76 yards and two scores on 12 carries. Not known as a passer, Lane added 158 yards and threw for a touchdown in only 12 attempts. Passing is something he has had to work on, but it is an extra element his coaches feel he can provide for this team.
“That’s something we work extremely hard at in practice,” said West Point coach Chris Chambless, whose team improved to 5-2 and 3-0 in the region. “He’s settling down, he’s getting comfortable, and that’s all it takes. He’s building confidence.”
Not to be outdone by his backfield partner, Williams added 76 yards on 13 carries, caught two passes for 16 yards, and added 21 yards on two punt returns. He was also the target of a pass by Lane in the end zone that drew a pass interference call and set up his 10-yard touchdown run.
In a game where the two standouts on offense exploded for a 331 all-purpose yards, the defense did its best to steal away some of the spotlight. Lederrius Gallion, Freddie Reed, and Mario Virges up front limited the Wildcats to 76 rushing yards on 25 attempts.
Clarksdale also didn’t have much success throwing the ball, as quarterback Cornelius Williams was 2 of 11. He didn’t complete a pass after the first quarter.
“It helps knowing you’ve got a strong defense to get your back, and know you can try different things on offense,” Chambless said. “The offense gets in, I wouldn’t say a comfort mode, but they know if we put some points on the board then we’re going to win.”
Chambless’ offense was aggressive and put points on the board from the start, scoring on a 21-yard run by Williams on the Green Wave’s opening possession. West Point’s Rashad Jones followed that up by recovering an onside kick by senior kicker Eric Lemus.
The Green Wave scored on two of their next three possessions, including a beautifully thrown 42-yard touchdown strike from Lane to sophomore Josh Ewing, who had a solid game running, catching, and throwing.
West Point took a 28-0 halftime lead and didn’t take its foot off the gas in the second half. The Green Wave made a fourth-down stop in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout. Kyle Porter capped a 13-play, 72-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.