Jahmani Jones didn’t have a catch in the first half. It was just time enough time for him to get rested.
The sophomore caught touchdown passes of 45, 37 and 29 yards in the third quarter to help Wesleyan surge past Stone Mountain and win 30-19.
It was a slant play that the Pirates’ secondary couldn’t seem to figure out with its man coverage, with Jones getting position and quarterback Will Anderson repeatedly hitting him in stride.
None of the passes traveled too far in the air, but nobody could catch Jones three times in that quarter, finishing it with four catches for 134 yards and three scores.
“That’s what you get with man coverage,” Wesleyan coach Franklin Pridgen said. “You get the ball to somebody in space like that, if he gets past the man assigned to him, there’s nobody else there. That’s the danger of running man-to-man coverage.”
A similar play also worked for Anderson to Christian Stark on a key fourth-quarter third-down play, going for 39 yards to keep a drive alive.
Anderson had 164 of his 179 passing yards in the second half, almost all from these precision throws that gave his receivers a good chance to keep running after the catch.
“(Anderson) is one great athlete,” Jones said. “He’s a great quarterback; I love having him behind the center. He just makes great reads and great passes. When he’s got time, he makes great throws.”
It was just what Pridgen expects out of his junior signal caller.
“He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the state,” Pridgen said. “You saw why tonight.”
Stone Mountain (1-2) nearly got itself back into the game early in the fourth quarter, when Anthony Walker stripped the ball from Wesleyan’s Miles Smith, turned and returned it untouched 84 yards for a touchdown. That would have made it 23-20 with the extra point, after the Wolves (2-1) led earlier 23-7.
But a block-in-the-back penalty well behind the play called it all the way back to the Stone Mountain 15-yard line. The drive ended in an interception, and the Pirates couldn’t recover.
Smith finished with a game-high 110 yards on 25 carries for the Class AA Wolves, who earned their second consecutive win over a Class AAAA opponent, after last week defeating Salem 38-19.
W 0 0 23 7 – 30
S 0 7 6 6 – 19
S – Stephen Sheppard 10 run (Hasib Novljakovic kick)
W – Jahmai Jones 45 pass from Will Anderson (Rhett Delk kick)
W – Delk safety
W – Jones 37 pass from Anderson (Delk kick)
W – Jones 29 pass from Anderson (Delk kick)
S – Jordan Collier 74 run (pass failed)
W – Brandon Gilliam 4 run (Delk kick)
S – Javon Jordan 10 pass from Corderal Cook (pass failed)