TUTTLE — Almost like a baseball manager calling for his closer in the ninth inning, Jones football coach Dave Martin asked running back Taylor Bilyeu if he was ready to put Friday's game away.
Bilyeu took the ball and shut the door on second-ranked Tuttle in Jones' 23-7 upset at Bill Hinkle Field.
“Taylor Bilyeu is a horse,” Martin said. “I told him we were gonna turn the thing over to him, and he was gonna go win it for us. We put it in his hands, and let him grind it. People see us as a spread team that throws it all over the lot, but we have a powerful running game, too, and we can grind down games like this.”
Bilyeu, a 6-foot, 210-pound senior, had 15 of his 19 carries in the second half, only one of which went for double-digit yardage, but that was exactly what the Longhorns (6-2 overall, 3-1 district) needed.
He was able to grind out tough yardage, convert crucial third downs and keep Tuttle's powerful offense off the field. Bilyeu finished with 97 yards on 19 carries, virtually all between the tackles to give Jones a power run game to complement its spread passing attack.
“No one knows how much Taylor Bilyeu does for us,” Jones quarterback David Cornwell said. “He'll have so many bruises tomorrow, but you'll never know it. He's such a tough kid, and he was great for us tonight.”
Cornwell made plenty big plays of his own, throwing for 183 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for another 75 and a score. He added an element to the power run game as well, taking on tacklers with his 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame. And he managed the clock with near perfection.
Jones had four offensive series in the second half, each eating more than four minutes off the clock.
Tuttle (7-1, 3-1), which had scored at least 34 points in every game this season, totaled 272 yards, but only 22 on 10 second-half snaps.
Jones was anxious to show its toughness Friday night following a disappointing loss to No. 5 Blanchard last week.
“This was a big win for the team,” Cornwell said. “We were working all week, pounding and grinding. Our bodies were sore, but we came out in a physical game and felt the momentum and played as a team. This is a really great win for this program.”