WAYNESBORO, Miss. (WDAM) - Twenty-two carries for 250 yards is not too shabby – especially for a quarterback.
Stone Ross handled just about every snap in Wayne Academy’s 49-21 win over Brookhaven Academy. The junior has been the straw stirring a drink that’s brought the Jaguars all the way to the MAIS 4A state championship.
“We have really good team chemistry,” Ross said. “We control the line of scrimmage very well and that plays a big part in really our entire offense and defense.”
“He touches the ball every play,” said Wayne Academy head coach Todd Mangum. “Whether he’s reading and doing what he’s supposed to in the option game or whether he’s drop-back pass, it poses a lot of pressure to the defense when you got a quarterback that’s a dual-threat guy.” Wayne Academy’s become quite the threat in Todd Mangum’s third season, winning nine of its 12 games. The 2015 state champion head coach of Wayne County has slowly turned the Jaguars into a championship contender.
Leaders like Ross and their belief in Mangum’s philosophy has been just as important as any play he might call.
“He brings that blue-collar mentality,” Ross said. “You gotta earn everything you get in life. You just gotta keep working, pushing forward and it’ll reward you.”
“[Ross] is such a good leader on and off the field,” Mangum said. “He’s an energizer bunny, he just keeps going and going and going. He comes every day ready to work, eager to learn, always wanting to get better and always wanting to do whatever it takes to get better.”
The last time Wayne Academy played for a state title, Ross wasn’t even alive. The Jags are back for the first time since 2001 – a date with Riverfield Academy (11-1) out of Rayville, Louisiana awaits.
“It’s definitely rewarding to get to this point,” Ross said. “It’s what we’ve worked at since this summer. It’s where we expected to be. Our goal is to keep working and get better and get a state championship.”
“Number one – these players and coaches and the school and community as a whole, it means so much to be able to represent our city, our county, our community in Jackson on Friday,” Mangum said.
Wayne Academy takes on Riverfield Academy on Friday at 3 p.m. on the campus of Jackson Academy.