Friday night marked the return of Easton Jones to the Stephenville quarterbacking position after he had been recovering from an offseason elbow injury, and he made the most of it in the annual Heart of Gold Game.
Jones, a senior, threw to Clay Krause for a 30-yard touchdown and ran for another TD in the Yellow Jackets' 34-21 football victory over Everman at Memorial Stadium.
Head coach Greg Winder’s Yellow Jackets improved to 3-0 on the season as Blu Caylor scored a pair of TDs and intercepted a pass to kill an Everman scoring threat.
Running back Krece Nowak added a 45-yard TD run for the Jackets.
After the game, Jones said that if someone had told him after he sustained his offseason injury that he would be able to throw passes by the third game of the season, he would have laughed in their face. Jones had been Stephenville’s starting quarterback the past two seasons, so the comeback means a lot to him.
“Being my senior year, it’s big,” Jones said. “Getting back out and leading the team was big.”
Winder said he didn’t tell Jones he was going to put him in the game.
“For him to be out here (at quarterback) in the third ballgame is amazing,” Winder said of Jones’ successful rehab. “He was a little rusty, but just his presence is what makes us go. The team feeds off of him.”
Stephenville never trailed, but the Bulldogs tied the game at 7 late in the first quarter before the Jackets pulled away with three second-quarter touchdowns for a 28-7 halftime lead.
The Jackets led by as many as 27 points, 34-7, when Jones kept the ball on a 1-yard TD run with 4:20remaining in the third quarter.
Everman managed to add its final two TDs in the final 4:42 of the fourth quarter.
Jones had been able to play with the team all season, but not at quarterback. He had been limited to punting and holding on extra point kicks.
Winder said Jones was released by his doctor on Wednesday this week to throw passes, and didn’t tell him until he entered the game late in the first quarter.
Chase Carrillo, who was the Heart of Gold Game’s honoree, recovered an Everman fumble that was caused by teammate Kasee Bouchey, helping set up Caylor’s first TD, which came with just 19 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Jackets’ next game will be at 7 p.m. on Friday at Decatur, as non-district play continues.