PINE BELT (WDAM) - South Jones 17, West Jones 14
According to the scoreboard, it took only minutes for Lady Fate to switch sidelines, with the tipping point coming in the blink of an eye.
But for both Scott Pierson and Cory Reynolds, the Region 3-5A cross-county clash between West Jones High School and South Jones High School will remain etched in the coaches'r memories for a long, long while.
Linebacker Desmond Newell returned a fumble 45 yards after West Jones had driven to South Jones' 5-yard line, with 1 minute, 57 seconds to play. The Braves then rewrote the game-ending script, claiming the last act for themselves with Ryne Sasser booting a 22-yard field goal to give South Jones a 17-14 victory.
"You talk about going from one emotion to another, that's about as high as you can to as low as you can get in about two minutes," Pierson said. "That one, that was tough. That one probably stung a little more."
John Oliver ran for 190 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown run, but the Mustangs lost four fumbles on the on the night.
"That's what's so hard," Pierson said. "You look at the numbers and we were ahead in every category except those four turnovers, and it's like I told our team, you can't win games if you can't hold onto the football.
"It's just one of those games."
Indeed. Take the end of the second quarter.
With 15 seconds left in the half, West Jones hit a field goal to take a 10-7 lead, but an illegal procedure penalty backed up the Mustangs 5 yards and forced a second field-goal attempt.
This one was blocked, and Zy Ferguson scooped up the loose ball and returned it 62 yards to give the Braves a 14-7 halftime lead.
"It was a great way to win one and a terrible way to lose it," Reynolds said. ""Two good teams, cross-county rivals, hard fought. We were able to kick that field goal and get out of there with a win.
"Huge crowd, it was a blackout game, they had painted their logo black, and we had a good crowd. The place was jumping. It was just what you want for a football game on a Friday night. You couldn't ask for anything more. It was good."
Brandon Gordon caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Will Mitchell for South Jones' first score, before the Mustangs tied the game 7-7 on Hunter Parrish's scoring pass to Garrick Randolph.
South Jones (6-1, 1-1 Region 3-5A) will host Natchez (1-5, 0-2) Friday, while West Jones (3-3, 0-2) will visit Wayne County (2-4, 2-0) Friday.
West Marion 44, St Patrick 6
The Trojans rushed out to a 38-6 halftime lead on the way to their sixth, consecutive victory.
"The regulars got about 20 snaps offensively, and then we started putting the other kids in," West Marion coach Brad Duncan said. "We got that early lead and it went from there."
Adrian Miller completed 10 of 15 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns, while Damien Johnson had three catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Charles Lewis rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, while Adrian James had 42 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
Cyrus Thompson had two catches for 40 yards and a touchdown, while Stacy Brown had a 39-yard touchdown reception.
West Marion (6-1, 1-0 Region 8-3A) will visit Seminary (5-2, 1-0) Friday.
Hattiesburg 63, Long Beach 7
Julian Conner threw a pair of touchdowns to Jordan Murphy and ran for a third as Hattiesburg High School rolled past Long Beach 63-7 Friday night in Region 4-5A play.
The Tigers (5-2, 2-0) roared out to a 35-0 halftime lead and the game was played under a running clock in the second half.
"We turned it over on our first possession but were able to get the ball back and make the most out of that second possession, and we kind of took control of the game after that," Hattiesburg coach Tony Vance said. "Defensively, we were able to get some stops and some turnovers _ had a pick six _ and defense was able to give us real good field position most of the night."
Conner, who completed 6 of 15 passes for 85 yards, was one of five Tigers to run for a touchdown, joining Jarod Conner (67 yards, five carries), Fabian Franklin (47 yards, 11 carries), D'Andre Humbles (46 yards, three carries) and Tyrese Franklin (5 yards, three carries).
Murphy had four catches for 79 yards and two scores, Alexzander Beverly threw a 37-yard touchdown to Raheem Willis and Tre Barnes returned an interception for a touchdown.
Hattiesburg will head to Picayune (6-0, 2-0) Friday for a Region 4-5A showdown.
"They're three yards and a cloud of dust and we like to run a track meet, so it's going to be one of those games about who can impose their will and control the clock," Vance said. "We know it's a big game, but we just need to handle it, go play our kind of football and make sure our offense gets more possessions than their offense."
Presbyterian Christian 41, Oak Forest Academy 21
Iasaiah Woullard ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns to help the Bobcats remain unbeaten.
Luke Hudson completed 6 of 10 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 20 yards and a score on three carries.
Rush Stewart caught 60-yard touchdown, while Nicholas Martin had four catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.
The Bobcats (7-0) will visit Lamar High School (6-2) in Meridian Friday.
Laurel 69, Natchez 20
Tyquan Ulmer accounted for 303 total yards and four touchdowns as the Golden Tornadoes rallied for the runaway Region 3-5A road win.
Ulmer completed 9 of 13 passes for 177 yards and three scores and rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Michael Terrell ran for 55 yards on eight carries, while Kolby Smith added 34 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
Dontario Drummond caught four passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns, while Je'vah Jones had two catches for 55 yards and a score.
The Golden Tornadoes (5-1, 2-0) will host Jackson Wingfield (4-2, 0-2) Friday.
Lumberton 46, Salem 21
Rodriqus Coleman ran for 91 yards and a touchdown and Dre Coleman added 66 yards and two more scores Friday night as the Panthers won their third, consecutive game.
The Panthers (4-2, 2-0 Region 4-1A) rolled out to a 40-0 halftime lead.
Jared Tribett completed 5 of 8 passes for 122 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes to Donnell Buckner. Tribett also rushed for 23 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
Davion Edwards added 51 yards rushing on eight carries.
Lumberton will visit Leake County (2-4, 1-3) Friday in regional play.
Stringer 38, Sacred Heart 34
Paul Rowell Jr. caught seven passes for three touchdowns and Campbell Klein ran for two more Friday night, but the Crusaders came up just short in their Region 4-1A game.
Gary Heathcock completed 21 of 34 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Rowell had seven catches for 129 yards and the three scores.
Klein rushed for 61 yards on three carries.
Will Agnew led the defense with 13 tackles, while Rowell had seven tackles (six solo), including three tackles for loss.
Sacred Heart (3-3, 1-2) will host Salem (1-5, 1-2) Friday night.