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Mustangs stun BHS

Quarterback Chase Headrick spurred an offensive stampede Fridaynight, directing the West Jones Mustangs to a shocking 30-7 upsetof the Brookhaven Panthers in the opening round of the Class 4Astate playoffs. Headrick passed for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns asNo. 4-seeded West Jones took a giant step forward by knocking offNo. 1 seed Brookhaven on King Field.

An estimated crowd of 3,500 watched the Mustangs (8-3) take a7-0 first quarter lead on a 9-yard pass from Headrick to MarcusPierce and a PAT kick by Adam Herrington. They led Brookhaven (8-2)16-7 at halftime, thanks to a 50-yard halfback pass from Pierce toTyler Gardner and a 25-yard field goal by Herrington.

The Mustangs used a fast, hard-hitting defense to keep the Pantherson the ropes in the second half and trample their statechampionship dreams. West Jones tacked on 2 fourth quartertouchdowns and the large group of green-clad fans began a loudcelebration.

“Our community got behind us and our kids started believing theycould win,” said West Jones coach Scott Pierson as he rested in afolding chair after the game. “Our wide receivers made some greatplays and our quarterback played exceptional. We gave Chase freerein back there.”

Headrick (5-11, 170, sr.) kept the Panthers on their heels withprecision passing and hard-nosed quarterback keepers. After ascoreless third quarter, Headrick gave West Jones some insurance,tossing a 7-yard TD to Craig Simpson on the second play of thefourth quarter.

The TD was set up when WJ defender Davantay Darby interceptedBrookhaven quarterback Charles (Bobo) Rancifer and returned thetheft to Brook’s 14-yard line.

On Brook’s next series, an interception by Darrell Baggett haltedthe Panthers at the WJ 15-yard line. That theft launched an 85-yardTD drive that required 7 plays, the back-breaker being a 53-yardscoring dash up the middle by Dexter Brown.

Producing a strong second half, Brown finished with 17 carries for144 yards.

Herrington’s PAT kick gave the Mustangs a 30-7 lead with 4:50 leftin the game. Rancifer, selected to the Mississippi All-Star Teamthis week, completed just 1 pass in the second half and finishedwith 7 completions in 17 attempts for 70 yards.

For the game, Brookhaven totaled 240 yards offense, getting 170 onthe ground and just 22 yards and 2 first downs the second half.Rancifer rushed 18 times for 110 yards. He was held to 5 carriesfor a minus-4 yards in the second half.

Brookhaven head coach Tucker Peavey praised West Jones. “We didn’twin the battle up front and we didn’t get the job done onoffense.

“West Jones is fast on defense and they play hard,” said Peavey.”They got penetration on us.

“Their quarterback is a good operator,” Peavey pointed out. “Hethrew the ball well and made great decisions.

“We had a great season but it ended in a bad way,” he continued. “Ifeel sorry for our seniors.”

Peavey’s Panthers marched 74 yards in 6 plays for the tying,second-quarter touchdown. Rancifer scrambled 54 yards to WJ’s4-yard line and scored 2 plays later on a sneak. Elliott McKeekicked the extra point and it was 7-7 with 7:07 remaining in thefirst half.

The Panthers were whistled 4 times for holding penalties. Anapparent, 37-yard TD run by Rancifer was wiped out by a hold. Onthe next series, Pierce hooked up with Gardner for the go-aheadTD.

Rancifer, Chavon Middleton, and Victor Bailey intercepted passes ondefense but the Panthers were unable to capitalize.

BHS senior safety Jewaun Washington shared his disappointment inthe season-ending defeat. “West Jones didn’t play like a No. 4team. They were fast and physical. But we still had a greatyear.”

West Jones will host D’Iberville in the second round.