PHILLIPSBURG'S JONES FOCUSED ON THE FOOTBALL PRESENT
Ja’Quan Jones would like to think about what’s coming up for Phillipsburg football.The North 2 Group 4 playoffs, for example, which open the weekend of Nov. 11-12.And that other small matter.“Easton,” Jones said on Tuesday. “22 days until Easton (on Thanksgiving). We have a countdown on a scoreboard in our locker room.”However, Jones, as a senior co-captain, knows that looking ahead is exactly what the Stateliners cannot do.“We have keep our heads straight, keep on playing hard, and focus on our next opponent,” Jones said.That would be Immaculata (4-4), which visits Maloney Stadium Friday at 7 p.m. for a Mid-State 38 crossover game and the regular-season finale.The Spartans may well be focusing on Jones, who of late has been a key player all over the place for the Stateliners (5-2).He averaged 8-plus yards a carry for 65 yards against North Hunterdon as the change-of-pace to senior fullback Garrett Boures battering away between the tackles. He’s getting more involved in the receiving game. On defense at safety he’s part of an increasingly impressive pass defense that has become a Phillipsburg strength after being perceived as a weakness pre-season.And Jones even got to throw the ball, tossing a 50-yard downfield strike on a halfback option against Montgomery that fell incomplete through no fault of Jones’ own.“Ja’Quan’s always had the strongest arm ever since seventh or eighth grade,” said Stateliner senior quarterback Danny Fisher. “We ran that play when we were younger, and you never know, we may run it again.”Jones would be game.“If we ever do it again it will be completed this time,” Jones said. “And we’ll score on that play.”Jones’ overall abilities – he runs back kicks as well – give him lots of options to score touchdowns and to help the team overall.There’s no question which is more important. In Friday’s win at North Hunterdon Jones made it to the 1-yard line on a run before he stopped.“I would have like to get over the goal line and get the touchdown, but I’d do anything to help the team win,” he said. “The line blocked tremendously for me, and the holes were some of the best I have seen all year.”The win over the Lions gave Phillipsburg its third straight win after a 2-2 start. What could have been a disastrous season now looks like a successful one. Jones credited the coaching staff with the turnaround.“We didn’t look at our record when we were 2-2,” he said. “The coaches told us don’t worry about the record. Every game is a big game, so worry about playing hard and having fun out there.”Ja’Quan Jones is having a lot of fun right now – all over the field.
Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.