West Jones, Charleston win MHSAA football championships

Published 11:43 pm Friday, December 1, 2023

OXFORD — West Jones beat Grenada at its own game, and for the biggest prize.

West Jones held Grenada to 132 total yards, and grinded out three second-half scoring drives to beat the Chargers 23-3 in the MHSAA Class 6A football championship game Friday night at Ole Miss’ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The Mustangs (14-0) won their second state championship in four seasons, adding the 2023 trophy to the one they claimed in 2020. They also finished the first undefeated season in the school’s 58-year history.

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Grenada (11-4) had a remarkable turnaround come up one step short of its final goal. The Chargers had a 5-6 record in both 2021 and 2022, then used a suffocating defense to reach the state championship game for the first time in school history.

Grenada posted three shutouts this season and held eight of its 15 opponents to eight points or less. It held West Jones in check as well, but couldn’t generate any offense of its own. Its only points came on a 24-yard field goal by Michael Kavanaugh in the second quarter.

West Jones’ defense had been even more dominant throughout the season than Grenada’s, and finished its championship run with a masterpiece. Friday’s game was the 11th this season in which it has held an opponent to seven points or less. The Mustangs had six shutouts.

West Jones forced two turnovers against Grenada, both of which set up scoring drives in the second half. Isaiah Lindsey and Keizorrion Carter each had an interception.

Rase Jones scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter, and in the fourth Elijah Jones had a 3-yard run and Kyamaurion Lindsey a 69-yard run to seal the victory.

West Jones only attempted eight passes in the game, completing one for three yards. It ran for 283 yards, with Elijah Jones leading the way with 102 and a touchdown on 22 carries.

Caleb Holmes added 17 carries for 94 yards, and the quarterback Lindsey had 86 yards and one TD.

Class 2A
Charleston 26, Heidelberg 22
Devon Olive threw three touchdown passes, Marcus Flowers ran for 198 yards and one TD, and Charleston (13-2) ended more than a decade of championship game frustration by beating Heidelberg (11-4) for the Class 2A title.

Charleston won the second state championship in school history. Since its last one in 2011, it had lost in five championship game appearances — including last season.

Olive threw two of his three TD passes in the first quarter and added a 23-yarder to Omar Wilson midway through the second. Flowers’ 15-yard TD run with 25 seconds left in the first half gave the Tigers a 26-14 lead.
Olive completed 13 of 18 passes for 207 yards.

Heidelberg scored on a 35-yard pass from Chase Craft to Julius Bradley with 10:28 left in the game to get back within a score, but could not take the lead.

The Oilers’ last possession ended on downs at the Charleston 32 with 2:42 remaining, and the Tigers picked up two first downs — one of them on fourth-and-2 near midfield — to run out the clock.

Craft was only 3-of-11 passing for 58 yards, but ran for 93 yards and one touchdown for Heidelberg. Bradley had 128 all-purpose yards.

Heidelberg was making its first championship game appearance.

MHSAA championship games
At Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford
Nov. 30
Class 1A – Biggersville 53, Velma Jackson 49
Class 5A – West Point 35, Laurel 7

Dec. 1
Class 2A – Charleston 26, Heidelberg 22
Class 6A – West Jones 23, Grenada 3

Dec. 2
Class 4A – Louisville (14-0) vs. Columbia (14-0), Noon
Class 3A – Winona (14-0) vs. Noxubee County (10-4), 3:30 p.m.
Class 7A – Starkville (10-3) vs. Oak Grove (12-1), 7 p.m.
• All games are broadcast on MeTV Jackson, online through the NFHS Network, and on radio on 105.9 FM and 91.3 FM.