WJ4

West Jones' Londarrius McRunnels returns an interception for a touchdown as teammate Dontorurean Crosby points the way. (Photo by Guru Nichols)

Can West Jones prevent a Wayne County sweep of Jones?

The West Jones Mustangs have reached Week 4 of the season unscratched, with a perfect 3-0 record after last week's victory over Quitman. 

On Friday, they will face their toughest test thus far in a home game against the rival Wayne County War Eagles, who have proved themselves to be a worthy opponent for anyone in Class 5A. 

Wayne County enters the contest holding a 2-1 record. Following a two-touchdown road loss to the Oak Grove Warriors, the War Eagles bounced back last week with a 21-20 win at home over the Laurel Tornadoes in double-overtime. 

Their offense revolves around its ability to run the football, averaging 231 rushing yards per game as opposed to just 71 yards per game through the air. Senior quarterback Zek Wesley has received the most carries, with 247 yards and 5.5 yards per run. The War Eagles boast two talented running backs — Shadamian Williamson and Kelnevious Walley, who have combined for 467 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. 

The War Eagles' defense is anchored by tackle Armondous Cooley, who leads the charge with 24 stops through three games. The unit has registered six turnovers — three interceptions and three fumbles — and allowed an average of 22 points per game to opposing offenses. 

Contrary to the War Eagles, West Jones' offense has appeared to be much more balanced so far this fall with 148 yards per game through the air and 174 yards per game on the ground. Junior quarterback Alan Follis has completed 59.3 percent of his pass attempts for 440 yards, five touchdowns and only one interception. The Mustangs have three running backs who have accounted for more than 100 yards on the ground so far — Kentrel Pruitt, Jasper Jones and Justin McDonald. Tajrick Randolph has led the receiving corps with 13 catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Mustangs have surprised many with their production despite losing key pieces from last year's unit. Sophomore Ken Russell has emerged as an upcoming leader with a team-high 28 tackles and two sacks in the first three weeks. The secondary has played exceptionally well, with six interceptions from five different defensive backs. Ball control will be key for any team hoping to defeat West Jones this fall, lining up against a defense that is forcing more than three turnovers per contest. 

The meeting will be the 25th between Wayne County and West Jones. The War Eagles lead the all-time series 18-6 and currently hold an eight-game winning streak over the Mustangs.

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