Mustangs wash away Maroon Tide

Published 7:05 pm Monday, November 2, 2009

SOSO — West Jones has always been known for their running attack. But it was a 10-yard pass from quarterback Ben Stevens to Devontay Barnett in overtime to lead the Mustangs to a 21-20 overtime win over Picayune here Friday night.

“I am extremely proud of this team,” said West coach Scott Pierson. “We’ve been working on our passing game and we were able to put it into our game plan tonight and we were successful.”

The win gives the Mustangs the Division 3-5A title and kept West undefeated at 9-0 overall and 6-0 in division play. The Mustangs are ranked number 1 in the state’s class 5A and were ranked as the 94th best team in the country according to

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“This is a testament to the determination of our team,” Pierson said. “We’ve been behind in three different games this year and found a way to come back in the fourth quarter and get a victory.”

Trailing 20-14 after Picayune’s overtime score, the Mustangs crashed a trio of receivers across the middle allowing Barnett to drift out of the backfield and catch Steven’s pass as he rambled into the end zone.

“We’ve been working on our passing game during practice a lot, but we’re just now getting our timing down in game situations,” said Stevens. “The offensive line gave me time to pass and we were able to pass the ball down field.”

Hunter Estess then added the conversion to keep West perfect.

It was also the Mustangs offense who came to life in the final 4:06 of regulation play to force the overtime.

After Picayune missed a 31-yard field goal attempt, West marched 80 yards on 16 plays to tie the game forcing the overtime. Stevens connected with seven passes for 63 yards. But it was Stevens who scooted around on end on a 2-yard bootleg for the touchdown. Estess added the conversion for a 14-14 score at the end of regulation.

After a scoreless first quarter, Picayune put the first points on the board on a 7-yard run by Maurice Jones with 1:48 left in the first half. The conversion failed, but the Maroon Tied led 6-0 at the intermission.

The Mustangs responded on their opening possession of the second half, marching 62-yards on just six plays, including a 45-yard pass from Stevens to LaKendrick McKeller. Estess added the conversion with 9:17 to left in the third quarter as West took a 7-6 lead.

But Picayune came back to regain the lead on their next possession. Jamaal Hall rushed for all 53 of in the drive, including the 44-yard rumble to the end zone. Jones added the two-point conversion for a 14-7 score with 7:18 still left on the clock, setting up the final series for West Jones.

The Mustangs will face Pearl River Central in their final home game of the regular season.

Picayune fell to 6-3 on the season and 5-1 overall. The Maroon Tide will host Wayne County, a winner over Pearl River, for second place in the division.