Former Cathedral players recall state game

Published 12:02 am Thursday, December 4, 2014

In 1993, Jarrod West played quarterback for the Cathedral Green Wave football team, leading a rally in the MHSAA Class A State Championship against Smithville.

With 11:44 left to play in the game, down 28-14, West anchored the Green Wave 80 yards down the field with his arm and feet, capping off the drive with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Garrity. The two-point conversion run by West brought Cathedral within six points with 10:31 minutes to play. After the defense did its job and created a punting situation, Cathedral was set up on its own 13-yard line with roughly six minutes to play in the game. Disaster struck on the first play of the drive when West and Jake Kidder botched a handoff, fumbling the ball and turning it over to Smithville, who capitalized with a score and eventually won 35-22.

Earlier this week, West, head basketball coach of Notre Dame High School in West Virginia, was unaware his alma mater would be playing for a state championship Friday, and when word reached him, he couldn’t contain his excitement.

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“Wow, I was just telling my son, who’s a sophomore now, if there were two games I would take back, it would be that championship game and the last game I played in college where I missed a three-pointer at the buzzer against Utah,” said West, who following high school graduation went on to lead the West Virginia Mountaineers to the Sweet 16 with a game-winning shot against Cincinnati in 1998. “I think about that game four or five times a week, and I played a lot of ball after high school.”

Chad Lipscomb, who caught a touchdown pass for Cathedral’s first score of the game, said he remembers the game vividly, especially since he was battling the flu leading up to the contest.

“I remember guarding one guy, and I ended up vomiting right there on the field on the goal line,” said Lipscomb, who is coaching at Madison-Ridgeland Academy currently.

Lipscomb was on the sideline for Cathedral’s south state title win against Nanih Waiya Friday night, attending his first Cathedral home game since 1998. Lipscomb said Cathedral’s 2014 team is much bigger than the one that went to state in 1993.

“We had to rely on our fast guys on the outside,” Lipscomb said. “That’s not really the case this year.”

Ken Beesley, who coached the squad in 1993 and has a grandson playing for the 2014 team, agreed with Lipscomb.

“That’s what I like about this year’s team,” Beesley said. “We didn’t have that luxury. This team can match up with teams and get physical with them.”

Lipscomb and West said they hope Cathedral players embrace this opportunity and play their hearts out Friday, hoping each player realizes how rare playing for a state championship is.

“These days will not be forgotten no matter what you do,” Lipscomb said. “I had the luxury to play college baseball with Delta State, and nothing tops that state championship game. Those Friday night memories are something you’ll cherish for a lifetime.”