Do you remember when Donald Trump descended the escalator more than three years ago announcing his run for president? We do. This newspaper became big — dare we say YUGE — supporters of the president because he talked frankly about the grandeur of being an American. He wrapped himself in the flag and had a relentless thirst for winning.
To paraphrase: “We are going to win, win and win some more.”
Americans like to win. Mississippians like to win. And certainly Jones Countians like to win — and we are not anywhere close to being sick of winning.
Our local high school football teams are consistent winners and that is again the case this year. When West Jones defeated Picayune on Friday night in the Class 5A state semifinals, it marked the sixth straight year that a Free State team played in the state semifinals. Before the Mustangs, it was the Laurel Golden Tornadoes who played for five straight South State championships.
But this year, despite one of its two losses having been to Laurel, it was the Mustangs playing for the South State championship. It was the sixth time the Mustangs have played in the state semifinals, but the first time the team came out with tears of joy instead of sorrow. There were emotions flowing, but the work is not yet done. There is still one more hurdle to eclipse.
That comes on Saturday when our boys from Soso will travel 34 miles from the WJ campus to M.M. Roberts Stadium — The Rock — at Southern Miss. We envision thousands of Jones Countians making the trip south, seeing as the stadium is in such close proximity. In Laurel’s two state championship trips — both in Starkville — the Nader Nation showed out in tremendous numbers. Who knows how many of them would have made the trip to Hattiesburg.
West Jones will face another tremendous test with a West Point team that has won two consecutive Class 5A state championships, has a 13-1 record and has not lost since Aug. 31 — to Class 6A Starkville. The Green Wave is a talented, veteran team that will provide a stiff test.
But then again, no one expected the Mustangs to defeat No. 1 ranked Hattiesburg, considered a shoo-in for a state championship trip.
This group of Mustangs is special. They have Division 1 talent, a few unsung heroes, a dominating defense, a veteran coaching staff and a ton of confidence.
They like to win. Their fans like to win.
We love winners, whether on the football field, in the classroom or the workplace. The competitive drive makes each and every one of us better. Strive to be the best at all costs.
About five months ago, this group of high school football players toiled, bled and worked through the most miserable days of summer. They lost their opening game of the year in without question their worst performance. They came together the next week to start a streak of 12 wins in 13 games.
And now they are on the cusp of bringing home the school’s first football state championship. No matter what happens on Saturday, these Mustangs are winners.
But don’t be surprised to see them hoisting that gold ball at about 9:30 Saturday night in Hattiesburg.