JONES — The Jones Longhorns defeated the Cushing Tigers 33-14 to advance to the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs on Friday.
The Longhorns took advantage of one big offensive play and two Cushing mistakes on their way to a 20-0, halftime lead.
Terik Leniger took the first snap of the game 62 yards for a touchdown, giving Jones a 7-0 advantage after the first 17 seconds. The Longhorns finished the game with 107 rushing yards on 36 carries.
After its first score, Jones recovered an onside-kick off the foot of Keane Cox at the Cushing 46 yard-line. Five plays later, quarterback Clayton Sims scored on a one-yard sneak, giving the Longhorns a 14-0, first quarter lead.
Cushing tried to bounce back, but with 57 seconds remaining in the second quarter, quarterback Ian Jones fumbled at the Tigers' 37 yard-line, the team's first critical mistake of the game. Jones defensive back Cody Yelton scooped up the loose ball and returned it 63 yards for the team's third score of the half. Cushing turned the ball over four times total, none bigger than Ian Jones' first fumble.
“Good things are going to happen to you,” Jones head coach Dave Martin said after the game. “And plays that didn't go our way during the first part of the season are going our way now because we're playing hard.”
The Longhorns continued to cash in on Cushing's miscues in the second half.
After extending the lead to 27-0 on a 26-yard touchdown reception from Sims, Levi Fox intercepted Ian Jones at the Cushing 44 yard-line and returned it to his team's 10 yard-line. Sims, who finished 14-for-20 with 109 yards and two scores through the air, connected with Colton Story on the following play, and the Longhorns extended their lead to 33-0.
Cushing's Gage Stallworth, who finished with 186 rushing yards, scored twice in the final 19 minutes. However, it wasn't nearly enough as Jones advanced to the second round of the 3A state playoffs.
“The ride is something we've preached here,” Martin said. “It's putting yourself in these situations and continuing to cash in on early season investments. Hopefully the ride continues after next week.”
Jones will travel to Kingfisher on Friday for its second-round matchup against the undefeated Yellow Jackets, winners of Class 3A-3.