NARUNA — Friday night marked their first win in more than a month, and most certainly their biggest victory of the year.
But the Joneses — Altavista’s senior running back JaQuallen Jones and junior quarterback Jayllen Jones — still didn’t have much to say.
“It feels good,” Jayllen said following his team’s 35-28 win on the road over Campbell County and Dogwood District foe William Campbell.
The two couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces, though, and for good reason.
The pair, who day in and day out are the most soft-spoken members of the Class 1 squad, coach Andy Cox said, put together performances that were anything but quiet.
In the back-and-forth Region 1B quarterfinal game — a rematch of last week’s regular-season finale, which William Campbell won — the Joneses took charge, helping the Colonels (4-7) finally capture a close victory to keep their season alive.
The two accounted for all five of Altavista’s touchdowns on the night. JaQuallen finished with two, and Jayllen accounted for three more. And each of them scored when it mattered most.
After failing to score in the third quarter and letting No. 3 seed William Campbell take its first lead of the game, sixth-seeded Altavista had the answer in the fourth.
The final 12 minutes belonged to the Colonels, who opened the period by keeping the host Generals out of the end zone despite excellent field position on a drive started at the Altavista 26-yard line. Then, the Altavista offense, which included a line that opened up big holes in the middle of the field, went to work.
The Colonels chewed up nearly five minutes and drove 80 yards, with JaQuallen Jones tying the game at 28-all on his 10-yard scamper into the end zone.
The Generals had their chance to respond, but picked up just one first down, then were whistled for their 13th penalty of the night and eventually were forced to punt. The Joneses, then, put the game away.
JaQuallen carried the ball three more times in the two-minute drive to pick up valuable yardage, and Jayllen found Cayden Kelly for a 14-yard pickup on fourth-and-7, setting up a 34-yard bomb to Makel Stone for the game-winning touchdown with 20.7 seconds left.
“I saw him open up the field,” Jayllen Jones said of Stone. “I gave it to him, and he scored.”
The pass went for Jones’ third completion of the night. Two of those three went down as touchdowns.
According to Cox, the catch for Stone, his first and only reception of the night, was especially sweet, because in a 46-35 loss to Campbell last week, Stone dropped a pass when he was wide open.
“That bothered him all week. He came to me and said, ‘Coach, I ain’t gonna drop another one if you give me an opportunity,’” Cox said. “So that was his opportunity.”
Jayllen Jones went 3 for 8 through the air with one interception for 88 yards and two touchdowns. He added a team-high 145 yards on the ground and an additional score.
JaQuallen had 120 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
“We feel that we haven’t played four quarters of football yet, and tonight was a night I think we stepped up and played pretty close to four quarters of football,” Cox said of his team, which had 380 yards of total offense. “…I think they really stepped up tonight, and it shows. It’s exciting to see these guys happy.”
For William Campbell, which fell behind early but stormed back to take a 22-21 lead in the third quarter, Jordan Young was the star.
Young, normally a running back, took the majority of snaps at quarterback Friday following an injury to starter Jermiah Smith two weeks ago.
The senior, who finished with 176 rushing yards and 120 passing yards, accounted for all four of the Generals’ touchdowns.
In the first and second quarters, he ran for 7- and 63-yard touchdowns on back-to-back drives and back-to-back plays.
In the third quarter, during which the Generals turned a 21-14 deficit into a 28-21 lead, he found Ra’Shawn Stevens for a 26-yard touchdown, then scampered 27 yards for another score.
The second-half spurt was a welcomed sight for William Campbell, which left six points on the field just before the intermission.
The Generals, who also racked up 100 yards in penalties, drove 64 yards in just over two minutes and had first-and-goal at the 5. But after a 4-yard rush from Young, the Generals fumbled at the 1-yard line, recovered, then were whistled for a false start as the final seconds of the half ran off the clock.
“I think we score right there, the momentum shifts into our hands,” Campbell coach Danny Broggin said. “ … Not scoring right there, I don’t think it hurt us, but I definitely don’t think it helped us.
William Campbell wraps up its season at 5-6 and failed to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
“We don’t want to be one-and-done in the playoffs. … We left some games out there that we should’ve won, so at the end of the day, we’re not satisfied with that. The way we finished the season, we’re definitely not satisfied,” Broggin said. “That’s gonna add fuel to the fire.”
Altavista, for the 11th year in a row, will head to the Region 1B semifinals. The Colonels travel to play No. 2 Sussex Central (8-2) next week.