After stunning Hattiesburg a week ago, West Jones pulled off its second consecutive impressive road playoff victory to advance to next week’s Class 5A state championship against West Point in Hattiesburg.
The Mustangs held on for a 21-13 victory over Picayune at Lee-Triplett Stadium Friday night.
West Jones quarterback Alan Follis did a good job of directing the offense, completing 17 of 26 passes for 197 yards.
The game started strong for the Maroon Tide with an opening kickoff return by Cameron Thomas that put the offense at the West Jones 38. However, Picayune could only manage a field goal attempt that missed just wide.
Three plays later, the Mustangs had the field to the Tide’s 30. On the subsequent play, Mustang quarterback Alan Follis was forced out of the pocket and grabbed by a Picayune defender in a move that looked like a sack, but when the officials ruled that his knee didn’t touch the ground, Follis ran the rest of the way untouched for a 30-yard touchdown.
With 6:39 left to play in the first quarter, the Mustangs held a 7-0 lead with Walker Thompson’s successful point after touchdown attempt.
“We got some terrible breaks in the first half, but that’s part of the game,” Picayune coach Dodd Lee said.
After the Tide turned the ball over on downs, the Mustangs put together a 12-play, 47-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Kentrell Pruitt. Thompson connected again on the PAT with 11:54 left in the first half, giving the visiting team a 14-0 lead.
After turning the ball back over to the Mustangs on downs, the Maroon Tide reclaimed possession when a pass by Follis intended was picked off by Picayune’s Curdevone Jackson.
Through a nine-play drive that began at the Mustang’s 37, the Tide put points on the board when running back Jortin Raine crossed into pay dirt from the 3. Brice’s successful PAT put the score at 14-7, with 3:51 left in the second quarter.
After coming back from halftime, the Tide put another touchdown on the board through a four-play, 80-yard drive. The drive was capped off by a halfback option play from Raine to tailback Kaleb Hart from the West Jones 28.
With 3:38 left in the third quarter, Brice’s PAT attempt bounced off the uprights, leaving the Tide behind at 14-13.
The final score of the game came on the Mustang’s next possession, and was the culmination of seven plays that began at the Tide’s 34 yard line, ending with a 3-yard run by Pruitt. With 1:15 left in the third, Thompson’s successful PAT gave the Mustangs a 21-13 lead that the team would hold through the fourth quarter until the final buzzer rang.
With the season at an end, Lee said, “We did some good things, we just didn’t do enough of them.”
Senior running back Jortin Raine led Picayune with 35 carries for 139 yards.