Picayune—The West Jones Mustangs will advance to play in their first state championship after their 21-13 win over Picayune at Lee-Triplett Stadium to win the South State Championship in Class 5A.
Picayune started off on a good note with Cameron Thomas’ return of the opening kickoff from his own 18 to the Mustang 38. Picayune converted two first downs, but facing fourth and goal to go from the three yard line, the Maroon Tide missed a 19 yard field goal.
West Jones took over at their 20 and move the ball down to the Picayune 30 on two passes and a personal foul against Picayune. The next play, one which will be talked about for a long time, turned into a touchdown for the Mustangs.
West Jones quarterback Alan Follis appeared to be sacked by Picayune’s Kyle Stockstill, however, the referee allowed Follis to continue the play and he ran into the end zone for a touchdown after all other players on the field had stopped thinking Follis was down. Both still camera shots and video of the play appeared to show otherwise with Follis' left knee on the ground underneath Stockstill. Walker Thompson kicked the extra point to make it 7-0 with 6:39 left in the quarter.
Picayune’s next possession ended on a fourth down pass being deflected by West Jones at the Mustangs 47.
West Jones scored on a two yard run by Kentrell Pruitt on the first play of the second quarter to cap off a 10 play drive. Thompson made the extra point for a 14-0 lead.
Picayune’s defense produced a turnover when Juvonta Raymond forced a fumble at the West Jones 45 and Curdevonne Jackson scooped up the loose ball and returned it to the Mustangs 37. Jortin Raine scored 8 plays later on a 3 yard run with 3:51 left in the half. Issac Brice kicked the extra point to make it 14-7.
All photos by Randy Brown/WRJW Sports
Jortin Raine (2) runs for good yardage with a block from Kade Turnage (34).
West Jones came back after the ensuing kickoff and moved the ball to the Maroon Tide 2, but Leonard Taylor intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it to the Picayune 40 and a penalty against the Mustangs put the ball at the West Jones 45. Picayune fumbled the ball on their first play and West Jones ran out the clock to end the first half.
Leonard Taylor (15) interception in the end zone.
After the teams exchanged punts to start the second half, Picayune got the ball at their 20 and scored four plays later with their touchdown coming on a halfback pass from Raine to Kaleb Hart for 28 yards. Brice’s point after was no good when it bounced off the left upright leaving the score 14-13 with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
West Jones (12-2) scored on their next possession with a 6 play 66 yard drive with Pruitt scoring on a 3 yard run with 1:15 left in the third quarter and Thompson’s PAT made it 21-13.
The fourth quarter saw the two teams trade punts twice and Picayune started all of their possessions deep in their own territory due to the superb punting of Thompson.
Jortin Raine (2) running to his left against West Jones
Picayune’s last possession started at their own 11 with 3:07 left, but the Maroon Tide (10-4) was unable to move the ball past their own 45 as time expired.
Raine finished with 139 yards on 35 carries. The senior finished the season as the state’s leading rusher with just under 2,900 yards and 19 touchdowns.
West Jones' Follis completed 16 of 26 passes for 197 yards and ran for 60 yards on 10 carries.
West Jones will play West Point next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in Hattiesburg at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of University of Southern Mississippi