West Jones’ football team on Friday night ran into a buzzsaw wearing maroon and white. Picayune High School ran its way to the Class 5A state championship and halted West Jones’ quest for a return to the state championship game. 

WJ coach Scott Pierson put it pretty succinctly when he said, “Tonight, they were the better team.”

Sometimes in football — and life — you run up against a superior opponent. You fight like hell and leave it all on the field. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes tears flow. But the sun always rises the next day. Life goes on, even if for Mustang Nation it is a tough pill to swallow.

West Jones won 13 games this season and reclaimed the Leader-Call Battle for the Belt. Our local high school teams, for the most part, performed at a high level all year. Laurel made it to the second round of the playoffs and Northeast Jones made it to the postseason as well. Taylorsville is still alive and will be playing for a state title on Saturday. 

We get spoiled here with our successes on the fields and courts of the Free State. We congratulate all the players, fans, coaches, cheerleaders, bands, volunteers and everyone else involved with high school football. We can’t believe it is over already.

But with the end of high school football season kicks off one of the best, most festive weeks in Jones County.

• On Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Pinehurst Park is the Laurel Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

• On Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Laurel is the Jones College Concert Choir Christmas Concert. (Bring a canned good for the Salvation Army drive)

• Thursday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. also will be the Laurel-Jones County Library Holiday Open House.

• Friday at 5:30 p.m. is “Have Yourself a Merry Little ‘Ellisville’ Christmas” with the tree lighting in Community Bank Park in downtown, as well as many other holiday activities.

• Friday from 7-9 p.m. at the Laurel Little Theatre will be the annual Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas, presented by John Milham. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Animal Rescue League

• Parades will roll on Saturday with Laurel’s Sertoma Christmas parade at 10 a.m. and Ellisville’s parade at 2.

• And don’t forget to start the day with a full stomach at the Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the downtown YWCO and First Baptist Church.

As Andy Williams might sing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

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