By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 25, 2017) – Easton Jones is just your average run of the mill Stephenville quarterback.
You heard it right here in the First Financial Bank First Flash – in Stephenville he’s just average. He’s run of the mill.
Which means he is absolutely sensational.
QBHS, as Stephenville should be called after turning out Cody Ledbetter, Branndon Stewart, Glenn O’Dell, Kelan Luker, Kendal Briles, Kevin Kolb, Jevan Snead, Kody Spano, Tyler Jones and Jarrett Stidham, is again firing on all cylinders at the right time of year. They’re doing things only QB-blessed teams are able to do.
And boy, do they do them well.
You know why Stephenville doesn’t have a guy like Pampa’s Darrell Fields with more than 1,000 receiving yards.
The Jackets don’t need that. They have no reason to give opponents an easy out like that – just stop this one guy right here and there is no way they will muster up without his production.
Remember when Brownwood thought that was the way to beat Stephenville – load up to stop Krece Nowak? Bang – four touchdowns by four players on four snaps later a burning question was answered with authority. Easton Jones is not just a game manager. Yes, Easton Jones can beat you. And light you up like a wood-burning pinball machine.
That game as much as scoring 63 points against Pampa is the one where the Jackets announced they are truly back, and they also showed what it takes to get “back” to being Stephenville.
It’s about those quarterbacks.
It always has been.
All the great Stephenville teams have had a stud running back. Now it’s Krece “just needs a small crease,” Nowak, AKA “The Slippery Flea.” Before him and of the same cloth were Witt Westbook of the 2012 champs and Zac Hunter of the 1998 and ’99 champions. And there were powerful guys – that doesn’t mean slow – like Brad Mills, James Myles and Aiavion Edwards. The best pure all-around guy back there was probably Jason Bragg way back 23 and 24 years to those first two championship teams.
All of them had talented receivers. Remember that bunch from 2012? The late Alex Sanchez, Brice Gunter and Stidham before taking over at QB the following season? And from 1998, I’m surprised Boots Elliott doesn’t STILL accidentally say “Luker- to-Cardwell” out of habit every time the Jackets score passing the ball.
All of them had good offensive lines and all of them could get the necessary stops on defense, with some of those defenses especially the Mike Copeland-coordinated groups of 1993 and ’94, being downright dominant.
But other Stephenville teams have been good with those other units. The great ones have all thrived on the shoulders of a prolific quarterback.
Two years of mixing big plays with big uh-ohs. Two years of facing head-on all the pressure to live up to the above-mentioned Ledbetter-to-Stidham examples of greatness. Two years of losing. And a summer with a blown out elbow.
More mentally tough now than ever, and with a family literally full of coaches by his side – mom, dad, grandpa and grandma all were called coach at some point, or still are – Jones kept his faith in the Lord, in himself, in his team and in the Stephenville way.
And now Easton Jones, version 3.0, welcome to THE LIST. One of the most exclusive in all of high school sports.
Jones has won an outright district championship and an area championship. He’s played Thanksgiving week and won. And of late, he’s done it all in prolific fashion.
Easton completed 21 of 24 passes, four of them for touchdowns while rushing for another score to lead the Jackets to a 63-34 rout of Pampa in Wichita Falls Friday. The area playoff win sets up a heavyweight showdown in the Region I-4A Division I semifinals.
Jones was 11-14 passing with three touchdowns the week prior. That’s 32-38 passing with seven touchdowns without a turnover. That’s 84.2 percent passing. I checked, that’s good.
This season has seen Jones pass for a career-high five touchdowns in his first full game back from the torn ligament in his throwing elbow, and he has since repeated that. The 5 TD-passing performance, not the ligament tear, don’t be alarmed.
The great Stephenville teams have had quarterbacks who affirm themselves as the most irreplaceable part of their team, and Jones has done that.
Jones is not the overall athlete of a Stewart, or Briles. and God didn’t reach down and fill his arm with the power of lightning like Stidham or Luker.
Jones, instead, seems to have a little of all those guys.
I haven’t seen Argyle play a down of football this year. Having seen their scores and heard from some who have seen them, I’m sure they have a very fine football team.
Having seen a lot of Easton Jones, 3.0, they dang sure better.
Two things before completing this week’s First Financial Bank First Flash – Be prepared for all you will hear this week, because I uw well how Stephenville fans don’t ever want to hear this – everyone outside Stephenville is going to pick Argyle to win, for one, and for two, such a pick is not foolish. Argyle is ranked No. 3 in 4A Division II, with plenty of astute football thinkers out there thinkin’ they should be No. 1.
I believe Argyle is the real deal.
I know Stephenville is.
They Yellow Jackets always are, as long there is just another average, run of the mill Stephenville quarterback at the controls.