PICAYUNE, MS (WDAM) - The West Jones High School Mustangs Friday night presented Coach Scott Pierson with a milestone 200th career victory in a manner never seen in the football program’s proud history.
Things is, the Mustangs can top that accomplishment next weekend.
Sophomore running back Kentrell Pruitt scored on a pair of short touchdown runs and the Mustangs’ defense held one of the state’s most prolific running games to less than 200 yards as West Jones captured the school’s first South State football championship with a 21-13 victory at Picayune High School.
The Mustangs (12-2) advanced to the Class 5A state title game, and will face two-time defending state champion West Point High School at 7 p.m. Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg.
It marks West Jones’ first trip to the state title game in 23 playoff appearances since 1981 and seven trips to the South State finale.
The Mustangs had made the South State championship five previous times in Pierson’s 17 years at West Jones and once in the early 80s under Coach Mike Taylor.
The Green Wave (13-1) have won nine state football championships, including Class 5A crowns in 2016 and 2017.
Friday night, the Mustangs denied the Maroon Tide (10-4) its first trip to the state championship since Picayune won its second title in three years in 2013.
The game pitted West Jones’ defense against a Tide running game that was averaging 373.8 yards a game. Picayune rushed for less than half its average (181 yards) and scored the fewest points it had all season.
The Tide was just 3-of-12 on third-down conversions and 1-of-2 on fourth downs. West Jones outgained Picayune 309 yards total offense to 249 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Alan Follis got the Mustangs out to a 7-0 lead after one quarter, breaking off a 30-yard touchdown run.
Pruitt’s 2-yard run put West Jones ahead 14-0 before senior running back Jortin Raine’s 3-yard run made the score 14-7 at halftime.
The Maroon Tide cut the lead to 14-13 on a 28-yard pass from junior quarterback Jakail Myers to senior running back Kaleb Hart, but the extra point hit off the upright to leave the Mustangs ahead by a point.
Pruitt then capped the scoring with a 2-yard run late in the third quarter.
Follis completed 17-of-22 passes for 197 yards with two interceptions. He also ran for 64 yards and a score on 10 carries.
Pruitt ran for 44 yards and two scores on 13 carries. Senior receiver Antonie Kirk had six catches for 77 yards and sophomore receiver Tajrick Randolph grabbed four passes for 77 yards.