Top 10 Countdown: No. 4 West Jones

West Jones senior quarterback Alan Follis. (Photo by Chris Brooks)

With an impressive 25-4 record the last two seasons combined, West Jones has earned the No. 4 spot in this year’s preseason Top 10. The Mustangs followed a state championship game appearance in 2018 with a 13-1 mark a year ago. If they can follow Coach Scott Pierson’s lead to be a more physical team in 2020, this team has the pieces for a title run.

No. 4: West Jones Mustangs

Head Coach: Scott Pierson

2019 Record: 13-1 (Class 5A Semifinalist)

Starters Returning: Offense: 8 Defense: 9

Players to Watch: QB Alan Follis; RB Kentrell Pruitt; RB Joshua McDonald; WR Tajrick Randolph; LB Ken Russell; LB Colin Maggard; DL Dedrick Hicks; DL Damion Cunningham; DB Davion Barnes.

Coach Speak: “Our mantra this offseason has been we’ve got to be more physical. We have to find a way to be a more physical team. Picayune was the tougher team and that’s what we felt when we walked off the field last year. Offensively we have a very veteran group and our quarterback is something special and he’s the leader. We have a lot of depth at running back and wide receiver along with three offensive linemen back, so we’re really excited about what we can do offensively. Defensively we lost two guys that will be playing on Saturday’s and those are two big holes to fill, but with nine guys back we expect to be really good on size and have to have some guys step up.”

Outlook: West Jones played for the 5A state title in 2018 and last year reached the South State Championship game, so there’s nothing but high hopes for yet another playoff run in Soso in 2020. West Jones returns eight starters on an offense that averaged 36.6 points per game last season that’ll be led by quarterback Alan Follis, who tossed for 1,788 yards with 22 touchdowns and also rushed for 11 touchdowns. Also back is running backs Kentrell Pruitt (1,010 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns) and Joshua McDonald (501 yards, 8 touchdowns) to lead the run game. Tajrick Randolph (695 yards, 12 touchdowns) is the top receiver returning for the Mustangs. Defensively the Mustangs return nine starters that will be anchored by a veteran front seven in linebackers Ken Russell (116 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 interceptions) and Colin Maggard (92 tackles) along with defensive tackles Dedrick Hicks (63 tackles, 4 sacks) and Damion Cunningham. Defensive backs Davion Barnes and Wyatt Clark return to lead a secondary that welcomes back all four starters.

Season Opener: Sept. 4 vs. Quitman.