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West Jones outlasts Laurel, 24-21

Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 1:42 PM CDT
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SOSO, Miss. (WDAM) - After facing one of their toughest weeks outside the football field, the West Jones High School Mustangs found themselves in their toughest region football game of the season Friday night.

After seeing a 17-point lead whittled down to three points in a span of 3 minutes, 22 seconds, of the fourth quarter by a surging Laurel High School, the Mustangs dug deep to run out the game clock and secure a 24-21 Region 3-5A victory.

Senior Antwoine Gavin gained 64 yards on three carries in the final 2:07 of the game, including a 44-yard run with less than a minute to play that allowed West Jones quarterback Marlon Lindsey to take a knee on the final two snaps.

With that, West Jones (7-1, 5-0 Region 3-5A) locked up its seventh consecutive victory after spending the previous 58 hours coming to grips with the death of offensive lineman Cade Thompson.

Thompson died Wednesday morning when his truck struck a school bus Wednesday morning.

“i said earlier that I didn’t care whether we won or lost,” West Jones coach Scott Pierson said. “I just wanted us to come out and play hard from start to finish.

“I think we ran out of gas because there was so much emotion during the week. We just made one more play than them.”

Laurel coach Ryan Earnest said he and the Golden Tornadoes (5-3, 2-2) were well aware of the atmosphere that they would be walking into.

“This is one of the toughest places in the state to play,” Earnest said, “and that team, they had a lot to play for (Friday) night, and we answered the call. We answered the call. We just ran out of time.

“Hats off to West Jones. Nobody should have to go through what they’re going through right now. Our hearts and prayers are with them.”

Thompson was remembered from the “West Jones Strong” banner deployed in front a business on the way to the high school to his No. 56 at midfield and on the pregame scoreboard.

Both sides of the stadium displayed banners in his honor, and the pregame moment of silence was so quiet you could hear the crickets in the fields bordering the stadium.

The Mustangs entered the field in ranks bearing a “West Jones Strong” banner, arms locked and carrying Thompson’s jersey.

They laid it all on the line for hm,” Pierson said.

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