WEST POINT, Miss., - West Point had two weeks to think about letting their opening week game to Shannon slip away in the waning moments.
The Green Wave had a bye in week two and used the additional time to correct their mistakes and got back on track Friday with a 24-6 victory over Columbus.
"The last two weeks were great practices," said West Point coach Chris Chambless. "Nobody was complaining and everybody was humble and working hard. I am glad to get this win behind us so now we can focus on the rest of the season."
The Green Wave (1-1) totaled 242 yards on offense chewing up 177 yards on the ground and added another 65 yards via the air.
West Point standout and Mississippi State commitment Michael Carr only touched the ball nine times on the evening but accounted for 161 all-purpose yards including a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown immediately following the Falcons only score of the game.
Green Wave quarterback Justin Cox accumulated 102 yards of offense on the night completing 5-of-8 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown while rushing eight times for an additional 37 yards and a score.
Fullback Xavier Hogan paced the Green Wave rushing attack with 71 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
Carr caught three passes for 26 yards while tight end Michael Bush turned his only grab into a 35-yard touchdown.
West Point came out of the gate hungry driving 64 yards on 10 plays capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Cox on a quarterback draw up the middle. Kwame Williams' extra point was no good.
The Green Wave would add another score on their first drive of the second quarter as well. Facing 3rd-and-10 from the CHS 35-yard line, Cox found Bush on a drag route across the middle for the first down but Bush turned it up the left sideline for the score. The two point conversion was no good but West Point took a 12-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
A reenergized Falcons offense took the opening kickoff of the second half and cut the lead in half. Columbus marched 69 yards on a methodical 13 play drive and reached the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Cedric Jackson to Randy Brown. The extra point was blocked by Jaquille White of West Point leaving the score at 12-6.
But as quickly as the momentum shifted in the Falcons favor it was immediately stifled when Carr caught the ensuing kickoff on the run at his own 8-yard line and blew past the Columbus kick coverage for a 92-yard touchdown.
"I've never been so confident to take a run back," Carr said. "This time I was really confident and just said I was about to take this back. The next thing I know I hit the hole hard and kept going and didn't stop running."
Hogan added the final Green Wave touchdown plowing in from a yard out on the first play of the fourth quarter.
West Point appeared to have added another score when Jeremy Cannon picked off a Jackson pass and returned it 64-yards but the play was waved off by a penalty midway through the final quarter.
Defensive tackle Curtis Virges paced the Green Wave defense with 12 tackles including 3.5 for loss.
Columbus managed just 109 yards on offense with 93 yards on the ground and just 16 yards passing on the night and fell to 1-2 on the season.
"Physically we are as good as West Point," said Columbus coach Bubba Davis. "Mentally we just aren't where we need to be. Our kids have no idea how good they can really be. The last two weeks we've gotten beat by two good football teams and if your take four or five plays out of the last two ballgames we could be sitting here at 3-0. As hard as we've tried to impress on them that they really just don't understand that. They've lost so long that it's tough for them to deal with. If we can overcome that then we can play with anybody on the field."
Damian Baker led the Falcon rushing attack with 58 yards on 13 carries while Jackson was only 2-of-11 passing for 16 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Brown hauled in both passes for 16 yards and a score.
The Falcons will have a week off to prepare for 2008 Class 3A State Champion Louisville on Sept. 18 while West Point will travel for their rivalry matchup with Starkville on Friday.
Columbus 0 0 6 0 - 6
West Point 6 6 6 6 - 24
WP - Justin Cox 5-yard run (kick failed)
WP - Cox 35-yard pass to Michael Bush (run failed)
CHS- Cedric Jackson 3-yard pass to Randy Brown (kick blocked)
WP- Michael Carr 92-yard kickoff return (run failed)
WP- Xavier Ewing 1-yard run (run failed)
First Downs: 9 11
Rushes: 35-93 39-177
Passing: 16 65
Comp.-Att.-Int. 2-11-16-1 5-8-65-0
Return Yards: 45 111
Fumbles-Lost: 1-0, 0-0
Penalties: 2-20 10-85
Rushing: Columbus- Damian Baker 13-58, Cedric Jackson 9-24, Randy Brown 11-22, Deontae Jones 1-6, Team 1-(-17); West Point - Xavier Hogan 12-71, Justin Cox 8-37, LaKenderic Thomas 8-25, Michael Carr 4-24, Jacoby Lee 7-20
Passing: Columbus- Cedric Jackson 2-11-16-1; West Point - Justin Cox 5-8-65-0
Receiving: Columbus - Randy Brown 2-16; West Point - Michael Bush 1-35, Michael Carr 3-26, Xavier Hogan 1-4