Before Thomas Heyward Academy coach Nic Shuford moved Seth Jones to quarterback for the injured Davis Owens early in the fourth quarter of Friday's game at Hilton Head Prep, he had a couple of things to say to Jones.
"He told me he was going to ride me all the way and put the team on my back," Jones said. "He had faith in me."
Shuford's faith was justified when Jones found Collin Roach in the end zone with 7.6 seconds remaining to give the Rebels a 41-35 win over the Dolphins.
Already one of the Rebels' three main ball carriers, Jones moved under center after Owens was knocked out and out of the game by a clean blindside block from Hilton Head Prep's Noah Sulek with the game tied at 28.
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Owens was pursuing Dolphins quarterback Tyler Fox in the backfield when the collision happened. The senior eventually walked off the field under his own power but did not return to the game.
"We'll get him checked out," Shuford said. "He got his bell rung a little bit there."
Anthony Sanders intercepted Fox on the very next play and Jones took control of the offense. Shuford said Jones had taken plenty of reps at quarterback in practice, but the Rebels had no plans to play him that soon or that often.
"It wasn't just Seth, everybody had to adjust," Shuford said.
Jones called his own number in five of seven plays on his first drive, eating up clock and scoring from 10 yards out with 4:37 left in the game. He added the conversion himself to give the Rebels a 35-38 lead.
It was short-lived.
Two plays from scrimmage later, Teron Daley sprinted 51 yards for a Dolphins touchdown, his fifth of the game, to tie the game at 35.
Daley put together a remarkable game, carrying the ball just 14 times for 264 yards. Four of his five scores were longer than 50 yards.
"I think you've got to ride your horses," Hilton Head Prep coach Kevin Wald said. "(Daley's) a senior, he's the best player we've got and he wanted it."
But the last drive belonged to the Rebels, and Jones either ran the ball or passed on all 11 plays, the biggest of which was a 38-yard completion to Sanders on fourth-and-16 from the Thomas Heyward 47.
Making the play even more unbelievable was the fact the pass appeared to be intended for another receiver, but was badly underthrown and behind him. Sanders appeared just in time to make the catch.
"You know, I just threw it, honestly," Jones said. "I was just giving that one to God."
Two plays later, Jones' game-winning pass looked to be a sure interception. But instead, it only grazed the fingertips of the Dolphins defender, Fox, before settling in the arms of Roach.
"The ball was tipped and fell right in his hands," Wald said. "That's the play that is going to eat me up for a while. We rode our horse and they rode theirs. And they scored one more than we did."
Ironically, Jones never saw the catch. He was hit and knocked to the ground.
"That's just a good win, man," Shuford said.
Thomas Heyward Academy 41, Hilton Head Prep 35
THA 7 6 14 14 -- 41
HHP 7 7 14 7 -- 35
THA -- Zach Belger 8 run, (Anthony Sanders kick), 5:49.
HHP -- Teron Daley 56 run (Collin White kick), 0:00.
THA -- Sanders 25 pass from Davis Owens (pass failed), 9:38.
HHP -- Daley 1 run (White kick), 4:56.
THA -- Seth Jones 23 run (Jones run), 7:54.
HHP -- Daley 59 run (White kick), 7:37.
THA -- Belger 29 run (kick failed), 3:40.
HHP -- Daley 51 run (White kick), 3:18.
THA -- Jones 10 run (Jones run), 4:37.
HHP -- Daley 51 run (White kick), 4:07.
THA -- Collin Roach 17 pass from Jones (run failed), 0:07.6.
First Downs 23 8
Rushes-Yards 67-363 19-277
Comp-Att-Int 4-7-1 5-10-1
Passing Yards 110 78
Punts-Avg 1-32.0 3-40.3
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-40 6-55
Third-Down Conv 7-15 1-4
Fourth-Down Conv 6-6 0-0
PASSING: THA -- Davis Owens 2-4-1-55, Seth Jones 2-3-0-55; HHP -- Tyler Fox 5-10-1-78.
RUSHING: THA -- Seth Jones 39-232, Jared Rountree 16-63, Zach Belger 8-55, Davis Owens 4-13; HHP -- Teron Daley 14-264, Tyler Fox 2-7, Collin White 3-6.
RECEIVING: THA -- Anthony Sanders 2-63, Collin Roach 2-47; HHP -- Noah Sulek 5-69, Teron Daley 0-9.