WEST POINT, Miss., - West Point were neck-and-neck heading into halftime of a pivotal Class 5A Region I matchup Friday night.
But the Green Wave capitalized on three second half New Hope interceptions to claim a 24-14 victory at Hamblin Stadium.
"Anytime you can make big plays you've got to make them," said West Point head coach Chris Chambless. "You can't drop passes and you've got to make interceptions and go make the tackles if you want to win. We're going to have to do a better job of it and make the plays when it counts. Last I checked every play counts."
West Point (5-1) complied 328 yards on the night including 260 coming on the ground.
Senior quarterback and Mississippi State commitment Justin Cox had a big night with 144 yards of offense and all three Green Wave touchdowns. Cox rushed 10 times for 76 yards and two scores while completing 4-of-11 passing for 68 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
"It felt pretty good but we made some simple mistakes that we've got to work on to improve," Cox said.
West Point senior running back LaKenderic Thomas picked up an even 100 yards on 20 carries on the night to lead the team in that category.
Jamarius Tallie was the leading receiver for the Green Wave hauling in one 39-yard touchdown grab.
West Point got on the board first midway through the opening quarter. Cox broke loose on a 43-yard run in which he stiff armed a defender at the line of scrimmage and sprinted down the right sideline for the score.
But the Trojans would match that touchdown halfway through the second quarter and actually take the lead. Terrence Payne recovered a West Point fumble at midfield to get the New Hope offense on the field.
The Trojans capitalized on the solid field position and found the end zone four plays later. Zak Thrasher found a wide open Darius Petty for a 19-yard touchdown. Tanner Ryals added the extra point to go up 7-6.
West Point however answered before intermission with a 13-play, 64-yard drive. Eric Lemus came on to kick a 29-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give the Green Wave a 9-7 advantage heading into the locker room.
Things went downhill for New Hope in the second half which began with an interception with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter. Dequenten Spraggins picked off Spraggins and returned it out to the NHS 39-yard line.
The Green Wave needed only one play to score from there when Cox rolled right and tossed a 39-yard strike to Tallie. Lemus kicked the PAT to go up 16-7.
Spraggins second interception of Thrasher on the night came on the ensuing possession giving West Point the ball back at midfield.
The Green Wave again capitalized on the turnover with Cox scored on a 13-yard run six plays later. Jacoby Lee plowed in the two-point conversion to give West Point a 24-7 lead win a minute to play in the third quarter.
The Trojans added a late 2-yard touchdown pass from Thrasher to Lawrence Brown with 40-seconds remaining in the game.
New Hope (3-3) ended the game with 218 total yards with 167 yards coming through the air.
"We became a one dimensional ball club," said New Hope head coach Michael Bradley. "We couldn't run on them and Terrance Dentry got hurt on the very first play of the game. He tried to suck it up and go and he couldn't. When you lose the threat of running ball against a team like West Point then they are going to pin their ears back and come after you and that's what they did. They forced us into some bad plays."
Thrasher completed 9-of-23 passing for 167 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Petty caught two passes for 59 yards and a touchdown while Dentry ended the evening with 28 yards on nine carries.
New Hope 0 7 0 7 - 14
West Point 6 3 15 0 - 24
WPHS - Justin Cox 43-yard run (kick failed)
NHS- Darius Petty 19-yard pass from Zak Thrasher (Tanner Ryals kick)
WPHS - Eric Lemus 29-yard field goal
WPHS - Jamarius Tallie 39-yard pass from Cox (Lemus kick)
WPHS - Cox 13-yard run (Jacoby Lee run)
NHS - Lawrence Brown 2-yard pass from Thrasher (Ryals kick)
First Downs: 7 11
Rushes: 21-51 49-260
Passing: 167 68
Comp-Att-Int: 9-23-3 4-11-0
Return Yards: 32 10
Fumbles-Lost: 1-0 2-2
Penalties: 4-40 6-40
Rushing: New Hope - Terrance Dentry 9-28, Johnny Beamon 2-8, Frank Richardson 6-7, Darius Petty 1-5, Zak Thrasher 3-3; West Point - LaKenderic Thomas 20-100, Justin Cox 10-76, Jacoby Lee 11-58, Tez Pulliam 4-19, Mario Virges 2-6, Stefon Branham 1-4, Team 1-(-3)
Passing: New Hope - Zak Thrasher 9-23-167-3; West Point - Justin Cox 4-11-68-0
Receiving: Darius Petty 2-59, Johnny Beamon 3-46, Frank Richardson 1-34, Kris Douglas 1-27, Lawrence Brown 1-2, Terrance Dentry 1-(-1)