West Point beats Laurel 29-8; Wins eighth state title

Collin Brister
Sports Writer

West Point was cruising right along in the first half of their 5A State championship game taking a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter, but then Laurel quarterback Tyquan Ulmer found his groove.
Ulmer rushed for 21 yards and then completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Je Vah Jones on third and three, and then all of a sudden West Point’s lead was only four.
The next West Point possession went awry as well, as the Green Wave faced a fourth and 12. Laurel blocked Jose Lemus’s punt, and West Point fell on the ball in their own end zone, and Laurel cut the lead to 10-8.
Laurel would get the ball right before the end of the half, with all the momentum. West Point stopped them. They forced a Golden Tornado three-and-out, and were able to get the ball back and run the clock out to take a 10-8 lead into the locker room for half time.
The three-and-out was simple, but it was a series of plays that maybe determined the game. West Point had everything going against it, and West Point’s defense stopped them and ended the Golden Tornado run.
“We knew they were going to make a run ,” West Point head coach Chris Chambless said. “We knew that we were going to have to weather the storm. We had to get them settled back down. Going to halftime with a 10-8 lead, I felt fortunate. We had to remind our guys that things weren’t going our way, but we still had the lead.”
They came out the second half, and they kept doing what they’ve done all year on defense. They shut Laurel down. Even when West Point threw an interception and the Golden Torandoes returned it to the West Point 29, they made a play.
They forced a Laurel field goal attempt from 33-yards out, and Laurel missed it. West Point took possession of the football, and had a chance to put the game on ice, and they did just that.
Faced with a fourth-and-one at Laurel’s goal-line, leading 16-8, Chambless admitted the hypothetical coaching book says you should kick the field goal and go up 19-8. The 11-year West Point coach wasn’t interested in the book.
He went for it, and Marcus Murphy rewarded him and the Green Wave with a one-yard rushing touchdown to put West Point up 22-8, and the extra point made it 23-8.
“I wanted them to know that I had confidence in them,” Chambless said. “I had confidence in snapping it to Murphy. I had confidence in the offensive line to knock them back.”
West Point would force a Laurel turnover on downs on the ensuing possession, and the Green Wave would add one more touchdown to the scoreboard to make the final 29-8.
The championship was West Point’s eighth state championship as a school, and third under Chambless.