West Jones Mustangs rally past Lawernce Co.

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 11, 2000

MONTICELLO – The West Jones Mustangs defeated the LawrenceCounty Cougars 19-18 Friday night.

MONTICELLO – The West Jones Mustangs defeated the LawrenceCounty Cougars 19-18 Friday night. West Jones pulled what has to beconsidered a slight upset by dominating the second half, thusovercoming an 18-6 halftime deficit.

With the win, West Jones upped its record to 1-2 on the youngseason, while Lawrence County, the defending Class 4A statechampions, fell to 1-2. The Cougars will try to get back on thewinning track this Friday against Bassfield.

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Third-year Lawrence County head coach Danny Adams, whose Cougarslost back-to-back games for the first time, gave all the credit toWest Jones.

“West did a great job,” Adams said. “They fought hard all night,even when they were behind, and made the plays they had to make towin. Coach Taylor and his staff did a great job.”

The West Jones victory overshadowed a tremendous performance byLCHS fullback Johnathan Eley. The junior carried 26 times for 202yards, and scored 2 touchdowns. Eley’s effort spearheaded a290-yard rushing effort by the Cougars.

Things started out pretty well for Lawrence County. After anearly exchange of punts, the Cougars drove 69 yards in seven playsto take the lead. Eley made it 6-0 by hammering in from the two,but the extra point attempt went awry.

Midway through the second quarter, the Cougars extended the leadto 12-0. After a Johnny Speights fumble recovery, LCHS went 53yards in four plays. Eley ran the ball all 4 times, with his longrun in the drive going 30 yards. The 2-point conversion tryfailed.

West Jones quickly drove down the field to get back into thegame. A 46-pass from Terry McCullum to B.J. Keyes set up a 3-yardtouchdown run by Sedrick Brown. West Jones missed the PAT attempt,and Lawrence County held a 12-6 lead with less than 2 minutes leftin the first half.

Lawrence County did not choose to sit on that lead. With Eleyripping off runs of 22 and 20 yards, and Jamar Sibley adding a14-yard run, the Cougars got into scoring position. QuarterbackJerry Smith hit Jason Snell with a 15-yard TD strike to make thescore 18-6. Though it didn’t appear to be all that important at thetime, LCHS again failed to convert a 2-point conversion try.

The second half belonged to West Jones. The Mustangs took theopening kickoff of the half and promptly marched 56 yards in 5plays. McCullum hit Keyes with a 21-yard touchdown pass on fourthdown and 13, to cut the Cougar lead to 18-12.

The Cougars threatened at times, but were unable to put togetheranother scoring drive, Penalties, lack of execution, and a WestJones defense stuffed that everything the Cougars had to offer.

Late in the game, the Cougars’ inability to add to their leadcame back to haunt Lawrence County. Midway through the finalstanza, West Jones recovered a fumble at the LCHS 45. The Mustangsovercame a holding penalty by reeling off runs of 18, 22 and 15yards. It was the 15-yarder by Carlvin Tucker which knotted thegame at 18-18. The PAT gave West Jones its first lead of the night,at 19-18.

A 34-yard Smith-to-Charles Barnes connection got the Cougarsinto West Jones territory late in the game, but the Mustangsstiffened and stopped the Cougars a foot short on fourth down and3. LCHS got the ball back in the waning seconds, and passed it downthe field. Time ran out on the Cougars, as they were left strandedat the West Jones 34-yard line.

On the night, Smith hit on 5-of-7 passes for 85 yards. He threwto 5 different receivers.

Defensively, the Cougars fared considerablybetter than the previous week against Magee. Defensive end MathewAultman had 2 sacks in the game.

@Bbstandings:STATISTICS WJ LC First Downs 8 19Rushes-Yards 31-180 51-290 Passing Yards 67 85 Total Yards 247 375Passes 2-2-0 5 7 0 Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-2 Punts-Average 4-32 2-39Time of Possession 18:15 29:45 West Jones 0 6 6 7 -19 Lawrence Co.6 12 0 0 – 18

FIRST QUARTER Lawrence Co., Eley 2 run (kickfailed).

SECOND QUARTER Lawrence Co., Eley 2 run (pass failed).West Jones, Brown 3 run (kick failed Lawrence Co., Snell 15 passfrom J. Smith (run failed).

THIRD QUARTER West Jones, Keyes 21 pass from McCullum(run failed).

FOURTH QUARTER West Jones, Tucker 15 run (Smithkick).

LAWERENCE COUNTY LEADERS RUSHING: Eley 26-202, J. Smith14-40, Sibley 9-29, Barnes 3-19. PASSING: J. Smith 5-i7-0, 85.RECEIVING: Barnes 1-34, Eley 1-21, Snell 1-15, Graves 1-12, Sibley1-3.