Photo/Zach Buckley

By Zach Buckley

Bay Springs was hoping to have a better showing against a much bigger West Jones, but the Mustangs were too big up front especially on the defensive line. 

“Their defensive line…I mean it’s hard for me to believe there’s a better one in the state of Mississippi,” Bay Springs head coach Dan Brady noted. “Byron Young is unblockable. They move him around so much, and they did a great job preparing for us.” 

Mustang head coach Scot Pierson sees his defense along the same lines. 

“Defensively, I think we’re as good as we’ve ever been. It’s as good as I’ve coached at West Jones,” Pierson commented.

A lot can be said about both defenses in this game, but plays were being made offensively. The Mustangs ironically used a defensive lineman, Damion Cunningham, to score the only touchdown in the first quarter from one-yard out. 

The Mustangs went to the air for the next score. Sophomore quarterback Alan Follis connected on a 26-yd strike to take a 14-0 lead with 6:18 left in the half. 

The Bulldogs needed to score before the half to keep the game in reach. Dallen Jones delivered with 35 seconds before halftime on a one-yard rush set up by a long fake punt conversion by Derrien Lee.

West Jones offensive coordinator Bud Blackledge dialed up the air attack again midway through the third quarter on a screen pass from Follis to Jasper Jones for 32 yards. 

“Coach Blackledge put him in a great position where the kid (Follis) could succeed,” said Brady. “He hit the open receivers where we didn’t.” 

Bay Springs running back Anson Windham scored late in the third quarter with a 6-yd dash to the end zone. The Bulldogs needed momentum and seemed to have it. Their defense made the stops required to give them a chance to tie the game. The Bulldogs hit a long pass for 38 yards from Adrian Cole to Lee but was called back on a holding penalty. The Bulldogs couldn’t recover. 

“I think they just ran out of gas. It was a big play with a holding call on a fade route. I think that broke their back. What a quality team, I was proud of his [Brady] kids. I was proud of mine too,” said Pierson.

Bay Springs would not score in the fourth, but Follis scored on a QB draw in the red zone, and Jasper Jones put the nail in the coffin with a 6-yd scamper and score to give the Mustangs a 35-14 victory. 

The Bulldogs must lick their wounds quickly and prepare for a Northeast Jones team that is desperate for a win. 

“Coach Braddock (Northeast Jones head coach) is going have his group ready to go. His kids play hard. It will be a dogfight. Playing these big schools helps us to prepare for region play and even the playoffs. Hopefully, this loss to West Jones will help us in November if we can learn from our mistakes,” said Brady about his upcoming game at home vs. Northeast Jones. 

Pierson knows what it takes to win in tough 5A league, and West Jones believes that great defense will lead to a better offense. 

“What we believe in at West Jones is that our best players are going to play defense. As the year goes along, we are going to have kids playing one side of the ball and maturate in their position before helping us on the other side of the ball. I think we are starting to see that now,” said Pierson.

West Jones has a week to rest its legs. 

“Next week we’re off, and we need to be off because the season is a long haul,” said Pierson. “We open Region 3-5A with Forest Hill. I’m happy with our win, and I think we have a quality team, but I think Bay Springs fans and the people up here should be proud of the product they have.” 

At the end of the night, 5A West Jones was just too much for the 2A Bulldogs.