WEST POINT — For years, West Point High School’s calling card on the football field has been the ability to run the football.
Because of that, the key to beating West Point has been simple: Stop the run and you stop West Point.
That was before Steffon Moore came along.
Moore, a senior wide receiver, has helped add a new dimension and gives quarterback Dason Thomas a target he can look to to move the chains, especially on third down. That’s when Thomas has been most likely to throw to Moore, whose sure hands have made him a favorite of playcaller and offensive coordinator Lee Grisham when the Green Waves needs a first down.
It’s a fact not lost on Moore.
“I like getting the ball in situations like that,” said Moore, who leads West Point with nine catches and a touchdown. “It shows my teammates and coaches trust me. It’s all about being ready to make a play when your number is called.”
Moore’s number likely will be called at 7 tonight when West Point (1-2) visits Columbus (0-2). Both teams are looking to snap two-game losing streaks. In West Point’s case, the losses have come to the top teams in Class 6A. The first setback was a 14-10 defeat to perennial power South Panola. The other was a 34-3 loss to Starkville.
Despite the pedigree of the teams that beat West Point, Moore said none of West Point’s players are satisfied with how the season has started.
“I can’t say it’s been a good season yet,” Moore said. “I think we have the chance to be a really good team this year, and I think we will start showing that soon.”
Moore has been solid on his end. Lining up in the slot and out wide, Moore gives West Point a sure-handed target with the ability to reach the end zone from anywhere. That playmaking ability was on display in West Point’s season opener against Grenada, when Moore took a pass from Thomas on the Green Wave’s first play and sprinted down the visitor’s sideline for a 75-yard touchdown.
“Dason hit me perfectly and my teammates blocked,” Moore said. “All I was thinking about was not getting caught.”
That hasn’t happened often.
Moore has been a big part of an offense that has struggled to put consistent drives together, though the senior said, “It’s coming. We are working too hard to keep losing.”
The Green Wave haven’t scored an offensive touchdown since the opener, and while that hasn’t gone unnoticed, West Point coach Chris Chambless knows it’s a product of gutsy scheduling.
“We want to play the best, and we do play the best,” Chambless said. “When you play these top teams early, sometimes it humbles you. But it also makes you stronger, and it gets us ready for the long road ahead.”
That road could begin tonight at Columbus, a team that won 41-14 in West Point a year ago. A year later, both teams enter looking to create momentum.
“It’s all about making plays,” Moore said. “If we can go out there and hit them, if we can go out there and establish what we want to do early, I think we will be OK.”
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writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat