YUKON — Yukon quarterback Corben Jones is happiest when he's facing third-and-long.
Whatever happened to get his offense in third-and-long probably doesn't make him happy, but Jones craves being in that situation, when the pressure to perform is at its peak.
“I know when it's third-and-long, it's gonna be my time to make a play,” Jones said. “I'm ready for it. I like it a lot. That's probably the funnest part about the game — getting in those pressure situations.
“That's when I get the happiest.”
It's all a matter of attitude for Jones — he's pure competitor.
“That's his best quality,” Yukon coach Todd Wilson said. “He's a great competitor. He's a fighter.
“Plus, he works hard and he's coachable. He's all those things a coach likes in a quarterback.”
Jones, No. 24 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the top players in the 2012 recruiting class, took over as the Millers' starting quarterback and guided the team to its first playoff appearance in 12 years. He followed that up by quarterbacking the team to an 8-3 season a year ago.
The Millers had several other talented players around Jones to help along the way to Yukon's best season in more than a decade, but the quarterback's 2,294 passing yards with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions — combined with his on-field leadership — were integral.
“I look at what we were doing before he became our starting quarterback, and what we've done the last two years,” Wilson said. “What he has helped our team and program do speaks volumes about him as a player.”
Jones completed 62.4 percent of his passes as a sophomore, and 65.2 percent last season, as programs like Texas A&M and Colorado began to recruit him. But one of Jones' strengths as a player is what he does on the plays that don't work.
“When a play breaks down, it's not over,” he said. “I can scramble around a little bit and make a play, make big plays when I need to.”
A hard runner who has rushed for more than 900 yards the last two seasons combined, Jones is using the offseason to bulk up his 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame and improve his speed.
But he's also attractive to college programs, because he has a strong arm and has shown he can be an efficient passer in a spread offense. And with three years of starting experience in high school, he hopes that will make the college transition easier.
“I was a young kid learning how to play at a high level, a 6A level, in high school,” he said. “It's gonna be the same thing when I get to college. I'll be a young kid having to adapt to the environment, and step up and try to be a playmaker.”