Area’s dynamic weapons off to strong start to high school season
Justin Rogers’ goal with his offense is to make opposing teams have to defend the entire field.
So far, defenses aren’t having much luck doing that against the Jones County Greyhounds.
Jones County, which is off this week before jumping into GHSA Region 4-5A play at Locust Grove next week, scored 42 points in a win over Houston County and 48 in a win over Washington County. And most of those points have come on big plays.
“It’s a little better, actually, than I thought it would be,” Rogers said about his offense. “But it’s what we thought it would be — big-play ability. When you have speed, you can snap one off, so that’s what we wanted to do, really widen the field and force the defense to defend the whole 53 yards sideline to sideline.”
That’s not an easy task when a team has a pair of weapons like senior quarterback Teldrick Ross and senior running back Drake Bolus. Ross has completed 10-of-18 passes for 190 yards and has 14 carries for 287 yards. Bolus has 24 carries for 249 yards and three catches for 134 yards.
Ross has touchdown runs of 25, 40, 68 and 76 yards and touchdown passes of 17 and 79 yards, with the 79-yarder going to Bolus. Bolus has touchdown runs of 63 and 65 yards, and he returned the opening kickoff of the season 96 yards for a score.
“It’s real fun because we can score at any given time,” Ross said of the offense. “We have an offense that can get the job done whenever we need to, and we have a lot of confidence in that.”
Confidence has been big for Bolus this season. Last year, he reached 1,000 yards rushing, and that gave him the boost he needed entering his senior season.
“I learned a lot from last year,” Bolus said. “I learned that I have this talent and that I can make plays for my team.”
Having those kinds of weapons has been big for Rogers, but Ross and Bolus aren’t the only big-play performers in the area.
Last week, Tattnall Square’s Destin Mack had 10 carries for 155 yards and six touchdowns against Wilcox County. Howard’s Jeremiah Kelly rushed 12 times for 152 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, last week against Mount de Sales.
Peach County’s Kearis Jackson had two catches for 107 yards, including a touchdown, and a punt return for a touchdown last week against Houston County.
“It definitely makes you a lot more confident in the third-and-5s and third-and-6s because it just gives you so many more options,” Rogers said of teams having big-play ability. “You don’t have to throw the ball. You can run the ball in those down-and-distances. It just opens up your play-calling to where you don’t feel like you’re forced to have to go one direction or the other as far as throwing versus running the ball.”
While those players are getting the attention, the ability to break off a big play starts up front. Those holes don’t open by themselves, after all.
“The offensive line has played phenomenal. If you don’t get a hat on a hat, those things don’t happen. Those plays go for 4 and 5 yards or 2 and 3 yards,” Rogers said. “But our O-line has opened up gaps, and not only that, our wideouts have done a great job blocking on the perimeter. So when you have those kind of explosive plays, and don’t get me wrong Teldrick and Drake are explosive players, but this is the ultimate team game.
“If you don’t have those guys blocking on the edge with the wideouts and the O-linemen in the box, it don’t matter how fast you are; you’ll just get tackled.”