Area teams enjoying strong play at QB

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Josh Hanes is one of three area passers turning in nice stats through four weeks. Hanes and the Lions have homecoming Friday with kickoff against Bosqueville set for 7:30 p.m. || The Flash Today/Russell Huffman

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STEPHENVILLE (September 28, 2017) — Local 11-man quarterbacks are off to strong starts to the 2017 season, including one who came back from an injury expected to sideline him throughout the fall.

When Easton Jones tore the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow of the right arm he has used to pass for more than 4,500 yards in his varsity career, it appeared to be a hefty blow to any hopes that Stephenville would brush aside its past two losing seasons and return to old form.

But with stem cell treatment working successfully and preventing Jones from needing Tommy John Surgery, he is already back in action, joining undefeated Yellow Jacket team that in his absence built itself around the versatility of scat back Krece Nowak and a boost in physicality on both sides of the ball.

The finished product now that Jones has recovered, is perhaps a better one than if the Yellow Jackets were never forced to endure his absence from the lineup. His presence has, in essence, is like an undefeated team suddenly turning to free agency and signing a proven, veteran quarterback to come in and be the final piece to the puzzle.

Jones delivered a career-best five touchdown passes and 303 yards through the air last week, when Stephenville beat down the Decatur squad that was left largely intact after eliminating the Yellow Jackets by beating them twice in 2016. The 41-20 final last Friday was not really indicative of the way Stephenville stormed to a 41-13 lead with time for more before calling off the dogs in anticipation of another big showdown this Friday.

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Stehenville visits Graham for a battle of unbeaten foes who both are receiving votes in the Associated Press 4A Top 10 poll, and comparisons between the Stephenville backfield, also featuring Nowak with 996 all-purpose yards and 12 total touchdowns, to the Graham combo of QB Tucker Horn and RB Chase Gilmore make it an especially intriguing contest on paper.

Horn is a 60 percent passer for 1,225 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 306 yards and 3.5 TDs a game through the air. Gilmore has rushed for 760 yards and has 867 all-purpose yards on 92 touches.

There is a clinic in footwork, throwing motion, read progression and escapability put on once weekly each fall by De Leon ISD, where junior Kevin Yeager, son of head coach David Yeager, is as natural a passer and athlete as you will find in the region and, in 2A, perhaps statewide.

Kevin has been spending the fourth quarter of blowouts on the sideline with his stats already on ice, but he hasn’t needed 48 full minutes to be impressive. A 64.4 percent passer for 870 yards, perhaps most impressive is his 10 TD passes with just one interception.

The junior and two-time district offensive player of the year hs also rushed for 129 yards and as a free safety is among the leaders of a defense that boasts three shutouts in four weeks.

Like Jones, Yeager has a dynamic weapon beside him in 689 yard rusher Anthony Rangel. And like Stephenville, De Leon has a big game on the docket Friday. Bigger, actually, because it’s a district contest. The No. 10 Bearcats visit reigning 10-2A Division I champ and 2016 state finalist No. 9 Crawford.

Dublin QB Josh Hanes is getting it done, and last week the Lions were finally awarded a win for his play. Hanes hit Jacob Stanley and Blake Porter with 26 and 30-yard touchdowns passes in the fourth quarter of a big second half comeback last week. Dublin was named the Texas Football Army Values Conference 3A Team of the Week after scoring 21 unanswered points to erase a 24-6 deficit and beat Breckenridge 27-24.

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The best individual numbers for Hanes came at Albany, when he was 19-24 passing for 303 yards, but Dublin fumbled seven times and lost six of them in the 61-21 loss. That included losing fumbles that led to Albany touchdowns on four consecutive possessions in the second half.

Hanes is 54.4 percent passer for 623 yards, averaging 12.3 per completion, and he’s done it while also having to be the primary rushing threat for the Lions. He has run 37 times for 161 yards and another TD, while no other Lion ball carrier has more than 20 carries or 100 yards.

Dubin has to hope Hanes can cut loose again this week against the torrid offense of Bosqueville which scored 38 in a loss last week against Crawford. It’s homecoming night in Lion land, and perhaps Hanes and company can avoid turnovers and light up the scoreboard for the fans coming home, as Bosqueville did surrender 55 points a week ago.

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