Skip to main content

West Jones beats Hattiesburg to clinch Region 3-6A football title

The Mustangs haven't missed a beat under first-year coach Cory Reynolds

The West Jones Mustangs started fast and finished strong in a 37-7 win over Hattiesburg at D.I. Patrick Stadium to clinch the Region 3-6A Championship.

The Mustangs finished the season a perfect 10-0 under first-year coach Cory Reynolds, who succeeded the great Scott Pierson when he retired after 21 years at the helm of the program.

“We had a legend who retired here,” Reynolds said. “And here comes this guy who hasn’t won a lot of ballgames as a head coach, so there was a lot of questions at the beginning of the season. I think these guys answered those questions. We had a goal to go 1-0 every week, and that’s what we’ve done.”

The new coach may not possess all the head-coaching experience his predecessor had, but like Pierson before him, Reynolds has plenty of challenge with which to work.

The West Jones offense rolled to 387 rushing yards as a team, and got touchdown carries out of four different Mustangs, including two from big 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior Elijah Jones.

With the win, West Jones earned home-field advantage through at least the first two rounds of the playoffs, and will host the Hancock Hawks (8-3) in the first round of the MHSAA Class 6A Playoffs next weekend.

If they can start as fast as they did Thursday night against Hattiesburg, they'll be hard to catch.

The Mustangs scored on their first two possessions, driving 58 and 62 yards on seven total plays — all runs — to take a 13-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.

Isaiah Lindsey, one of the of the four Mustangs to score rushing touchdowns, blocked a punt on Hattiesburg’s ensuing possession, and senior Joseph Hernandez buried a 33-yard field goal to put West Jones ahead 16-0 with 4:33 left in the first quarter.

Hattiesburg (7-3) failed to convert a 4th-and-3 at midfield with 10 seconds left in the first quarter, and West Jones sophomore Caleb Holmes housed a 50-yard touchdown run to give the Mustangs a 23-0 lead headed into the second quarter.

“We struggled with starting fast earlier in the year,” West Jones freshman quarterback Kymaurion Lindsey said. “We weren’t putting a bunch of points on the board in the first half. But tonight, we came out here and played. We watched film throughout the week, and we had a game plan.”

Hattiesburg finally put together a touchdown drive late in the half, marching 75 yards in 11 plays, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run from Tavares Wade.

The Tigers never found the end zone again, and West Jones tacked on both of Jones’ touchdowns in the second half.

“I told our guys,” Hattiesburg coach Tony Vance said. “I said we were either going to wake up Saturday morning as district champs, or we were going to wake up Saturday morning with regrets. We made too many mistakes tonight and you gotta give credit to West Jones.”

The Tigers don’t have long to dwell on Thursday night’s game, either. They’ll host Pascagoula (7-3) in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 10.