OXFORD – Oxford quarterback Jack Abraham wants to finish this time.
The Chargers beat West Point 35-7 Friday night in the Class 5A North State championship game at Bobby Holcomb Field to earn their third consecutive trip to the state title game. They lost by a combined 10 points in their previous two trips to the game.
The Chargers (12-2) needed a second win this season against West Point (11-3) and a fifth in a row in the series to advance. The Green Wave haven’t beaten Oxford since Oct. 26, 2012, and suffered a 50-28 loss to the Chargers in Week 5 in Oxford.
“We just approached it the same way,” Abraham said. “We played them five times in my career, and we beat them five straight. They’re one of our big rivals. We knew what they had. We were ready for them. We took care of business.”
The Chargers received perhaps their strongest performance of the season on defense. They entered Friday’s game allowing an average of 20.2 points per game and limited an opponent to single digits for the third time this season.
West Point gained 154 in the first half and 72 in the second for a total of 226. The Green Wave rushed 59 times for 172 yards as their pass game struggled throughout the early part of the game.
“Last time we played them, they went into motion, and we were sitting back there and they had numbers on us,” Chargers coach Johnny Hill said. “We never really got it corrected until halftime. We knew what they were going to do.
“That’s what we spent all week on, being physical and not getting outflanked in motion.”
Abraham completed 26 of 35 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. Teammate Ken Presley caught eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
Ole Miss wide receiver commit D.K. Metcalf entered the game 21 yards shy of Oxford’s single-season receiving record of 1,237. He surpassed that mark with a 12-yard reception in the third quarter that gave him 1,238 for his career.
Metcalf finished Friday with six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Oxford’s Hiram Wadlington rushed for two touchdowns.
Green Wave quarterback Marcus Murphy rushed 18 times for 87 yards while running back Chris Calvert had 77 rushing yards on 77 attempts and the team’s lone touchdown.
“They got a real potent running offense,” Hill said. “We missed some tackles early. Second half, we started getting off blocks.”
The defeat broke West Point’s eight-game winning streak.
The Chargers play Wayne County at 7 p.m. next Friday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford hoping to win a championship for the first time in three years.
“We’re where we want to be,” Hill said. “It feels good to get back there a third time. Wayne County, they’re tough; they’re very physical. It’ll be a great matchup.”
Contact Daniel Paulling at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow @DanielPaulling on Twitter.
Jack Abraham, Oxford
Abraham completed 26 of 35 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns.
West Point gained only 72 yards in the second half — compared to 154 in the first half — as Oxford pulled away.