Mississippi Sports

Jared’s Guide to the 5A State Championship Game: West Jones vs West Point

(West Point head coach Chris Chambless makes his way to midfield after winning last year’s MHSAA Class 5A State Championship game. Photo courtesy of Keith Warren, MHSAA)

History will be made, regardless of the outcome Saturday night. And boy will it be fun to witness.

Not even an unprecedented pandemic could distract or slow down the Mustangs, looking to win their first state title. Those guys that came up just short in the 2018 title game? They’re all here again. A talented senior class is back with guys like Alan Follis behind center. It hasn’t been an easy postseason run, but defense has done it again and again. Can it happen one more time? To prevent history from happening on the opposite sideline and having a repeat of 2018, they’ll have to play perfect.

West Point is back. Shocker. However, this time there’s a lot more on the line than winning a 5th straight state title. They’re looking to dethrone the University of South Panola as the new king of Mississippi high school football. Should they win it Saturday, that’ll be 12 state titles, the most in MHSAA history. It doesn’t matter who’s on the roster, they’ll be the same West Point as all those great teams and find ways to win. They’ll obviously be in it for a good one again.

West Jones Mustangs (11-2):

Head Coach: Scott Pierson

Championship Road:

1st: Picayune (W 35-23)

2nd: Laurel (W 42-21)

South: Pascagoula (W 18-16)

Championship History:

Wins: None

Losses: 2018

Player Watch:

QB – Alan Follis (53% com., 1,207 yds, 9 TD, 12 INT)***(56 car, 279 yds, 3 TD)***

RB – Kentrel Pruitt (83 car, 327 yds, 4 TD)***(5 rec, 37 yds)***

WR – Marlon Lindsey (23 rec, 340 yds, 2 TD)***

DL – Dedric Hicks (29 tkls, 11 TFL, 3 SK, INT, 2 FF)***

LB – Cedric Bender (23 tkls, TFL, 3 INT, 7 PD)***

***- stats incomplete (6 games)

Keys to Victory:

– Protect QB

– Play “responsibility” defense

West Point Green Wave (10-3):

Head Coach: Chris Chambless

Championship Road:

1st: Holmes County Central (W 42-28)

2nd: Grenada (W 28-14)

North: Ridgeland (W 29-22)

Championship History:

Wins: 1982, 1987, 1988, 1989, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Losses: 1984, 2002

Player Watch:

RB – Cameron Young (219 car, 1,452 yds, 21 TD) (2 rec, 9 yds, TD)

RB – Jakobe Pate (130 car, 857 yds, 7 TD) (18 rec, 219 yds, 3 TD)

RB – Chris Ivy (107 car, 837 yds, 5 TD)

DL – Jaylin Rush (59 tkls, 8 SK, FF, 2 FR)

ATH – JoQuon Young (40 tkls, 3 INT, 6 PD)

Keys to Victory:

– Avoid “mental” mistakes

– Pressure the QB

The Outlook:

The Green Wave own my only prediction whiff in state title games since 2017, when the knocked off Picayune last season (17-1). I’ve learned my lesson this time around. While all good things must come to an end eventually, it won’t be this Saturday. Why? Just #TooMuchPoint. All hail, the new king.

PICK: West Point 31, West Jones 24

Jared Redding

Jared Redding is a senior journalism major at the University of Mississippi and a lifelong native of Oxford, Miss. Jared has previously served with SES Mississippi and currently contributes to the Oxford Eagle and HottyToddy.com.

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