Walker Thompson booted a 35-yard field goal with 3 minutes, 32 seconds to play Friday night to cap a dramatic 25-23 West Jones victory over Stone in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
The Mustangs (10-2) trailed nearly the entire game until Thompson’s kick sent the home team into the second round against the state’s No. 1 team Hattiesburg. The 12-0 Tigers decimated Ole Brook 52-6, the same team West Jones slipped by last week 24-20.
Stone led 13-3 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a kick return for a touchdown and a 55-yard touchdown run. The visitors from Wiggins upped the lead to 20-3 on a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown. But the Mustangs’ defense allowed only a third-quarter field goal the rest of the way and slowly chipped away at the deficit.
Sophomore quarter Alan Follis had two touchdown runs and also connected on a 66-yard scoring pass to Tajrick Randolph. Follis’ second TD run got West Jones to within 23-22, but a bad snap on the extra point kick allowed Stone to block it and hold the 1-point lead.
West Jones and its standout defense, though, stopped Stone on three straight plays deep in its own territory and kicked what would be the game-winner on the next drive. Stone had one last chance to win the game, but a fourth-down pass fell incomplete setting off a wild celebration in Soso.
Kickoff next Friday is set for 7 p.m. at D.I. Patrick Stadium with the winner playing the winner of the Picayune-Laurel game for the South State championship.