From the moment the snapped ball sailed out of the end zone past the North Pike punter, the West Jones Mustangs had built an insurmountable 2-0 lead.
That is how good the Mustangs’ defense is playing.
The unit pitched its third straight shutout in a 37-0 thumping of North Pike Friday night at The Shoe. The last points the Mustangs allowed came with 1 minute, 52 seconds to play in the third quarter against Bay Springs — on Sept. 7.
“We are good on defense because we have a lot of good players,” said WJ coach Scott Pierson. “But what I was really proud of is that when we had some adversity, instead of saying it doesn’t matter to them, they showed that it mattered.”
The win also propelled West Jones to a 6-1 overall record and a 3-0 spot atop Region 3-5A, tied for first place with cross-county rival Laurel. Those two will meet on Friday night for what, most likely, will be for the Battle for the Belt championship.
North Pike gained about 300 yards in total offense, but only threatened to score one time and punted six times.
Quarterback Alijah Martin led the Jaguars with 81 yards passing and 148 yards rushing, which included a 69-yarder that gave North Pike a first-and-10 at the 10 with five minutes play in the third quarter.
The Jags went minus-25 yards in the next four plays to give possession back to West Jones and secure the shutout streak.
“There is a lot of pride, but we also know that the better competition you play, the harder that will be to do,” Pierson said. “
Senior Damion Cunningham led West Jones with 10 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks. Jon Micah Coleman and Londarrius McRunnels each had a sack. Antonie Kirk had an interception and Tymko Foster broke up three passes for West Jones.
Kentrell Pruitt, Micheal Neal, Jasper Jones and Alan Follis all had rushing touchdowns for West Jones, while Follis also connected with Tajrik Randolph on a TD pass. Jones led WJ with 75 yards rushing, while Neal had 73 yards rushing.
WJ led 16-0 at the end of the first half and extended the lead to 30-0 going into the fourth quarter.
Kickoff Friday Between the Bricks is at 7 p.m.