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When you talk about offensive talent in the WPIAL, the first name in the conversation has to be Jones. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Jones often looks like a man among boys. In two years at Sto-Rox, he has completed 228 of 398 passes for 3,870 yards, 44 touchdowns and has made a verbal commitment to play quarterback at Penn State. Jones is ranked as the fifth best pro-style quarterback in the country.
|‘BIONIC MAN’—Sto-Rox quarterback Paul Jones was 15 of 28 passing for 234 yards, threw two touchdowns and ran for another to lead the Vikings to a thrilling victory over Steel Valley.
Jones broke his ankle in July, underwent emergency surgery at the new Children’s Hospital, and was immediately ruled out for the entire season. But the ‘Bionic-Man’ only missed two games and has thrown for more than 200 yards in four straight games including 234 yards and two touchdowns to lead Sto-Rox (5-1) to a thrilling 26-21 homecoming victory Oct. 9 over Steel Valley (5-2).
Both teams struggled to hold onto the football in the first quarter because of heavy rain showers that nearly emptied the bleachers and Jones was restricted to modest rollouts to evade opposing pass-rushers and is no longer considered much of a threat to run. So Sto-Rox choose to expand its playbook by opening the second quarter and going to the ‘wildcat’ offense with Andrew Carswell replacing Jones at quarterback and pitching the football to Dantae Gilmore who scored on a 22-yard run. The two-point conversion failed and Sto-Rox was up 6-0.
Steel Valley, riding a four-game winning streak, came into the game with a blue collar attitude and wanted to show that they also have a blue chip quality quarterback in Tony Johnson.
Johnson passed for 121 yards and two touchdowns including a 22-yard pass to James Caldwell to take a 7-6 lead.
Jones closed out the first half scoring by rolling out to his left and throwing a 44-yard laser to Carswell. A successful Jones to Carswell two-point conversion gave Sto-Rox a 14-7 halftime lead.
|‘BLUE CHIPPER’—Steel Valley quarterback Tony Johnson threw two touchdown passes but it was not enough as the Ironmen lost to Sto-Rox 26-21 in the final minute of the game.
On the Friday before Columbus Day the WPIAL discovered a team talented enough to win a state championship.
Carswell, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior committed to Pitt to play wide-receiver, caught 6 passes for 118 yards. Running back Joshuae Beverly rushed for over 100 yards and super sophomore receiver/defensive back Marzett Geter had another big game.
“He’s only a sophomore,” Jones said. “It’s crazy how he’s doing so good.”
Jones is not surprised by the talented Geter; because he led the WPIAL in touchdowns passes (20) and was third in passing yards (1,851) when he was a sophomore. Jones also changed his number this year from number 7 to number 13.
“I did it to honor my friend Adam DiMichele who now plays (quarterback) for the Philadelphia Eagles,” said Jones. “People in McKees Rocks call me Paul DiMichele Jones.”
The Vikings came out flat in the third quarter and seemed to be more interested in trying to get a date with Dereshia Mozee, the newly crowned homecoming queen, than Steel Valley.
Quarterback Johnson fired a 77-yard bomb to Delrece Williams and Steel Valley ended the third quarter deadlocked at 14-14.
The Vikings opened the fourth quarter by going to a no huddle offense and having Jones call his own plays and he rose up high and mighty.
Jones rushed for a touchdown and a failed point after to take a 20-14 led.
Steel Valley came right back took the lead on a 36-yard touchdown run by Delrece Williams and a Jared Juristy kick gave them a 21-20 lead late in the game.
With less than a minute to go in the game Jones threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to DeJuan Reddix to win the game 26-20.
A three-sport athlete, Jones also plays basketball and baseball for the Vikings, which partly explains why he has such a quick release with the football.
The chemistry will come. A much bigger concern about Jones is if he’ll hold up physically. Put it this way: If Jones is not the state’s best player, he is arguably it most irreplaceable.
Like the old adage says, that which does not kill you only makes you stronger.
“We come from a tough family. We are from the dirty south”, said Paul Jones Sr., the quarterback’s father. “We are from Southwestern Louisiana down near where Ike Taylor (Steelers) went to college. Just throw some dirt on the ankle and lets go play ball.”
“Drew (Carswell) and I said that we would win a championship when we we’re seniors”, said Jones. “I’m not 100%, but we are going to continue to work and take this thing one game at a time”.
Jones is a man who never makes excuses, complains, or blames. His dogged determination, talent, experience and his willingness to work twice as hard should land the Vikings in the championship game.
The king wants to ascend to his throne. With Beaver Falls and Aliquippa favorites to win the AA title the Vikings know the war for WPIAL will be decided, ultimately, on the turf at Heinz Field.
If Jones and Carswell have anything to do with it, Pretty Ms. Mozee won’t be the only student at Sto-Rox wearing a crown.
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