LAUREL - There are reasons prep pundits call Region 3-5A the toughest in the State of Mississippi.
The Stone High Tomcats discovered one of those reasons last Friday night as the West Jones Mustangs ran roughshod over them.
The Tomcats went 3-and-out on their first possession and, just four plays later, Trey Keyes scampered 46 yards for West Jones’ first touchdown.
The PAT made it 7-0 and the Mustangs didn’t look back.
Just 3:40 later, after Stone once again went 3-and-out, Neil McLaurin scored from 11 yards out and Evan Buckley made it 14-0 with his PAT.
Cody Conner and Justin Evans take down a West Jones ball carrier during Friday night’s loss to the Mustangs. JODY O’HARA / ENTERPRISE.
“We knew going in we were going to be facing a big, athletic team and they got on us early,” said Stone coach Adam Stone. “They controlled both lines and they controlled the tempo of the game.”
The Tomcats were forced to punt seven times, turned the ball over on downs once and lost two fumbles.
The Mustangs (5-0 overall, 2-0 3-5A) scored in the second quarter when McLaurin hit Jawara Shelby with a 26-yard touchdown pass and again in the third when Keyes romped 65 yards for another touchdown.
West Jones posted its final points when Damian Agee recovered a fumble and took it 36 yards for a touchdown and Buckley kicked the extra point.
It was an understatement when Mustangs coach Scott Pierson said his defense, “played well.”
Over and over, Stone running backs were hit before they reached the line of scrimmage.
“We’ve got a lot of team speed and we put a lot of hats on the ball,” Pierson said.
Talking about how his team had controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, Pierson said they’d known all year that line play would be the strength of his team.
As for the Tomcats, they’ll regroup and prepare to host Pearl at A.L. May Memorial Stadium Friday.
“We’ve got work to do,” Stone said. “I’m disappointed in the outcome, but not at all disappointed in the effort of this team.”