Game of the Week: Laurel at West Jones
SOSO, Miss. (WDAM) -West Jones playing with a heavy heart this week after they lost a teammate and a friend in Cade Thompson on Wednesday.
“Our minds are in two different places,” West Jones head coach Scott Pierson said. “I mean, we want to play well and execute but at the same time we’re hurting for a family. I think we handled it about as well as you can handle the situation.”
“He was my substitute and you know when I turn around now and he’s not there. I think our team being as close as we are, as much of a family as we are, I think that’s helped us all,” West Jones left tackle Carter Kilpatrick said. “We can all lean on each other and it’s a lot easier coming together when you have 80 other people for you, like behind your back to support you. We’re playing Friday to honor him.”
“There’s no guide, there’s no roadmap so we’re going through it to the best of our ability. I think the more we talk like Carter was talking about, as a family, it helps us through it,” Pierson said.
And while they mourn him, Thompson will be with the Mustangs in spirit on Friday as they face region-rival Laurel.
“This being a big game, we know for a fact we’re going to get their best shot,” the Mustangs head coach said. “And I think they know that about us. They’re going to get our best shot and that’s what makes games like that so exciting is you know it’s going to be two teams laying it all on the line trying to get the ‘W.’”
“Anytime you pit Laurel and West Jones and there’s a football involved, it’s always going to be a very intense ballgame, very hard-fought ballgame,” Laurel head coach Ryan Earnest said.
That was true of these programs when they met not once, but twice last year. Laurel winning the regular-season matchup but West Jones getting the last laugh as they took down the Golden Tornadoes on their way to a 5A state title.
“42-21 been on our mind since last year when we lost,” Laurel running back Kiron Benjamin said. “When that clock hit zero, it hurt me.”
While it’s a new year, the Mustangs have carried over a dominant defense into the 2021 season not allowing a point on ‘D’ since their first game.
“Traditionally they always play great defense. They’ve always done a good job of running to the football and creating turnovers,” Earnest said. “It doesn’t matter who’s in the uniform, it doesn’t matter who the coordinator is, they have a standard out there.”
“Well I’ll tell you this, it’s not going to be a shut out,” Pierson said. “I wish I could sit here and tell you that but Laurel is way too talented and they’re going to get theirs. They’re too good a team with too much talent not to score. So, it’s going to be a situation where our offense is going to have to play at a high level, our defense is going to play at a high level and hopefully we make one more play than they do at the end of the game.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at West Jones.
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