The Jones County offense has had its way with the opposition all season. In starting the season 8-0 for the first time in school history, the Greyhounds have lit up the scoreboard. Only twice have they been held to fewer than 40 points and their lowest total of the year is 34.
The No. 5-ranked Greyhounds (8-0) will have their biggest of the season on Friday when they host No. 3 Stockbridge (8-0) in the game that should determine the Region 4-AAAAA championship.
Jones County has scored 340 points — only defending champion and No. 1-ranked Rome (386) has scored more in Class AAAAA. Stockbridge has allowed only 31 points, the fewest by any GHSA team.
“They’re stingy with points, they’re stingy with yards,” Jones County coach Justin Rogers said. “They’re just a good defense. They’re going to make sure you earn it. You have to be methodical. They’re not going to let you have a 40-yard run in there. We’re going to have to be perfect on our drive and stay on schedule.”
This group of Jones County seniors began the journey at the school when Rogers took over the program in 2014. The Greyhounds have made the playoffs each of the three previous seasons as a No. 3 seed and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2014. They’ve gone 34-10 and will graduate as the winningest class in school history. A lot was expected out of this year’s team.
“I felt like we had a good off-season and felt like we had a good summer, but that stuff’s not football and you’re never sure how much that’s going to equate,” Rogers said. “Our kids have carried that over and added the physical part of the game.”
Jones County runs the spread offense, similar to what Rogers did when he was the offensive coordinator at Griffin. He said the scheme allows the offense to play to its strengths, which can change considerably in high school.
“I tell people it’s like IHOP,” Rogers said. “At IHOP you can get whatever you want. You can get steak and you can get pancakes. The spread gives you the option to adapt to whatever you’ve got that year. We’ll tweak some things every year, depending on what we’ve got. We’ve made some changes this year. But we’re going to play out of the shotgun and we’ll play fast.”
Jones County is extremely balanced for a spread team. The Greyhounds have rushed for 229 yards per game and thrown for 104.7. The offense is led by Teldrick Ross, who has thrown for 567 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 645 yards and nine touchdowns. Ross has four 100-yard rushing games. Drake Bonus has rushed for 725 yards and eight touchdowns and is a threat at receiver and on kick returns.
The Jones County defense has had a successful season, although it has been overshadowed by the offense. Only two teams have scored more than 10 points against the Greyhounds. Antonio Evans leads the team in tackles and Demontae Trawick has 14 tackles for loss. Cameron Snead, Ja’darien Boykin and Kain Monds apply the pressure.
Here are the playoff scenarios in each region:
Region 1: Bainbridge will play at Warner Robins next week to determine first place. Thomas County Central will play at Harris County next week to decide third place.
Region 2: Ware County plays at Wayne County on Friday in a game that will likely determine the championship. New Hampstead still has a chance if it wins at Ware County next week; the Phoenix can finish no worse than third. The winner of this week’s game between Statesboro and South Effingham will finish fourth.
Region 3: Griffin, Starr’s Mill and Whitewater remain in control of the top three spots and could end up tied. Since they split against each other in head-to-head competition, the tiebreaker is point differential. Morrow could win the fourth playoff spot if it beats McIntosh this week.
Region 4: Jones County and Stockbridge play for the region championship this week in Gray. Eagle’s Landing will be guaranteed a playoff spot if it beats Woodland on Friday. Dutchtown will be in the postseason with a win over Hampton on Friday.
Region 5: Arabia Mountain and Southwest DeKalb will play for the region championship on Friday. If Miller Grove beats Lithonia on Friday, the Wolverines are in the playoffs. Columbia, Lithonia and Chamblee are still in contention.
Region 6: Carver can clinch the title win a win on Friday at Lithia Springs. Jackson can sew up the second seed with a win this week at Decatur. Banneker will finish third if it beats North Springs on Friday, but a North Springs win would keep the Spartans in contention.
Region 7: Rome is the region champion. Four teams are deadlocked for the final three spots – Carrollton, East Paulding, Kell and Paulding County. Paulding County is at Carrollton, Rome plays at East Paulding, and Kell at Woodland.
Region 8: Buford will play at Flowery Branch next week to determine the region championship. Clarke Central will finish third if it beats Walnut Grove on Friday.