By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
SAN ANTONIO – Junior LeMarquis Jones already had the Roos' longest play from scrimmage this season. His 55-yard jaunt set up the Roos to score and put a nail in the coffin of Austin Crockett two weeks ago in the first round of the playoffs.
His 72-yarder on Saturday in the Roos' 42-21 Division I-4A regional semifinal win over Gregory-Portland put points on the board and took the wind out of the Wildcats sails.
"That separated us," said Killeen coach Sam Jones. That run came when we needed it because they had shown they could stay with us when they had the ball."
The Wildcats took the first lead in the first quarter, but LeMarquis Jones tied it at 14 late in the second quarter.
Cummings gave the Roos their first lead in the third quarter, but the Wildcats answered with an impressive drive to tie the game, again, at 21.
After the kickoff, LeMarquis Jones was dropped for a 2-yard loss on what should've been the final play of the third quarter. Instead, Cummings took the snap with two seconds on the game clock and Jones took the handoff with no time remaining and sprinted the distance.
"I followed the play and my blockers and the rest is history," LeMarquis Jones said. "(On the sidelines) there were ups and downs. After that, everybody was excited and still pumped up."
Jones, who finished in sixth place at last year's Region II-4A track meet in the 100 meters, had rushed for only 231 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries all season long, but finished his first-career start with 221 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, after just 59 yards in the first half.
"In the first half, I felt a little nervous," LeMarquis Jones said. "I told myself, 'I can do this,' that's all I had on my mind."
With senior starter Marcus Tillman out since the Lampasas game on Halloween, sophomore Jaquail Haskins had gotten the bulk of the carries, but Jones has stepped in as a second back.
"He's still running behind a veteran offensive line," Sam Jones said. "LeMarquis Jones has great speed. To me, it looked like he was a little scared last week (against San Antonio Alamo Heights), but today he came into his own."
After the 72-yarder, he had a key 38-yard gain on the Roos' next possession that pulled Killeen out from the shadow of its own end zone at its 8-yard line and then capped the drive with his second 8-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
"I was working for 200 yards, but I didn't know I'd get it," LeMarquis Jones said. "I dreamed it and it came true in the playoffs."
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.