Millville running back Alquann Jones closes in on 2,000-yard mark - High School Football

Millville running back Alquann Jones closes in on 2,000-yard mark - High School Football

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A ranking of teams in the Cape-Atlantic League; Colonial Conference; Burlington County League; Olympic Conference and Tri-County Conference. Also ranked are Shore Conference teams that compete for South Jersey titles. Rankings selected by The Press high school sports staff based on staff observation, research and interviews with players and coaches.

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Millville running back Alquann Jones closes in on 2,000-yard mark

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Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011 12:50 am | Updated: 7:41 am, Fri Nov 18, 2011.

Nick Tyndal of the Millville High School football team throws a block on a sweep, looks up and sees Thunderbolts running back Alquann Jones 20 yards downfield.

"How did he get there that quick?" Tyndal, one of the region's top linemen, asks himself.

Jones is in the midst of one of the best seasons ever by local running back. The senior has rushed 254 times for 1,779 yards and 20 touchdowns. Millville (9-0) meets Washington Township (7-2) in a South Jersey Group IV semifinal at 7 p.m. today at Millville's Wheaton Field. The winner advances to the final on Dec. 2 at Rowan University.

Jones wows fans and stuns opponents with his speed and quickness.

"It just comes to me," Jones said of the moves he makes on the field. "It's like I'm used to do doing it."

The day after games, Jones watches himself on video.

"Sometimes I don't realize what I've done," he said. "I'm like, 'Ooh, did you see what I did?' "

Only three other local running backs - Matt McLain of Pinelands Regional (2,544 yards last season; William Washington of Holy Spirit (2,060 yards in 2007); and Keith Elias of Lacey Township (2,299 yards in 1989) - have rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a season.

Jones is 221 yards away from becoming No. 4. Millville has at least two games remaining - tonight's and its annual Thanksgiving contest against Vineland.

It seems as if once a game, Jones makes a run that causes fans to shake their heads in disbelief. In Millville's 27-19 win over Atlantic City on Nov. 4, it came in the fourth quarter.

He took a handoff and burst up the middle into the Vikings secondary. Jones then zigzagged between three Atlantic City defensive backs and then sprinted untouched for a 66-yard touchdown.

"I tell the offensive line, 'If you block hard, I'll run hard,' " he said. "I try to hide behind them and I see an opening I try to blast right through it."

On some plays, Tyndal sprints as hard as he can to block the opposing team's safety. Often, he finds Jones is already there and sprinting past the defender.

"I'm like, 'Well that was pointless,' " Tyndal said. "All you have to do is open a little hole or crease and he's gone."

Jones didn't start playing organized football until the seventh grade. He's one of six children. His older brother is 2008 Millville graduate and current Rowan University standout defensive back Mookie Holland.

Jones said his family didn't have the money to pay for him to play when he was young.

Jones began to attract attention when he rushed for 861 yards last season. Jones dedicated himself to improving in the offseason, lifting weights and running sprints in the hot sun.

"You could see him building toward this year," said Millville head coach Jason Durham. "He approached the offseason with a whole new level of intensity."

At 5-foot-8, 168 pounds, Jones doesn't look like a workhorse back. Still, he averages 28.2 carries per game. Durham said Jones wants to be in on every snap.

"He might look little in pads," Tyndal said, "but when you see him work out he's (strong)."

Jones admits he wakes up sore the day after games.

"I'm sore on Saturday mornings, but then again I know I have a game next Friday, so I'm hyped up at the same time," he said.

The home and visiting bleachers at Wheaton Field should be packed tonight. Millville hasn't played in a South Jersey final since 1997. Millville is 9-0 for the first time since 1975 when the Thunderbolts won their only South Jersey Group IV title. The Thunderbolts won their first Cape-Atlantic League title since 1989 this season.

"It's fun making history," Jones said.

It's even more fun to make history in a town like Millville, which has a deep appreciation of high school football. The Thunderbolts are one of the few schools to sell season tickets to their games.

"There's been a lot of hype, and a lot of people want to come to the game and watch," Jones said.

Jones wants to play college football, but has no firm scholarship offers yet. Millville coaches have sent his highlight video to several different schools.

"We're hoping somebody is going to take a shot on him," Durham said. "He's a small back, but he's a big talent."

Contact Michael McGarry:


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Cape-Atlantic League National Conference

School Conference Overall
St. Augustine Prep 7-0 8-2
Bridgeton 7-1 8-3
Cedar Creek 6-1 7-2
Buena Regional 5-3 5-5
Ocean City 3-4 4-5
Middle Township 2-5 3-6
Vineland 2-6 2-7
Pleasantville 1-6 2-7
Lower Cape May Regional 0-7 0-8

Cape-Atlantic League American Conference

School Conference Overall
Holy Spirit 7-0 10-0
St. Joseph 6-1 9-1
Millville 6-2 7-3
Hammonton 5-2 6-3
Atlantic City 3-4 4-5
Absegami 2-5 4-5
Oakcrest 1-6 2-7
Mainland Regional 1-6 3-6
Egg Harbor Township 1-6 2-7

Shore Conference A South

School Conference Overall
Jackson Memorial 6-1 7-3
Brick Township 5-2 8-3
Toms River South 5-2 7-3
Brick Memorial 4-3 6-4
Lacey Township 3-4 5-5
Southern Regional 3-4 4-5
Toms River East 1-5 3-6
Toms River North 0-6 1-8

Shore Conference B South

School Conference Overall
Barnegat 5-1 9-1
Central Regional 5-2 5-4
Monsignor Donovan 4-2 4-5
Lakewood 4-3 6-3
Jackson Liberty 3-4 4-5
Manchester Township 3-3 3-6
Pinelands Regional 1-5 1-8
Pt. Pleasant Boro 1-6 1-9

West Jersey Football League Royal Division

School Conference Overall
Camden 4-0 9-1
Delsea Regional 4-1 9-2
Woodrow Wilson 3-1 4-5
Bishop Eustace 1-4 5-4
Cumberland Regional 1-4 1-8
Deptford 1-4 1-8

West Jersey Football League Classic Division

School Conference Overall
Pennsville 5-0 8-2
Salem 4-1 5-5
Gloucester 3-2 3-6
Clayton 1-3 3-6
Pitman 1-3 2-7
Wildwood 0-5 2-5

Scoring leaders

Name School Total points
Lamont Harris St. Augustine Prep 126
Stefon Bowman Bridgeton 110
David Hood Absegami 108
Christian Tutela Lacey Township 100
Taalib Gerald Holy Spirit 96
Cappadonna Miller Bridgeton 92
Ryquell Armstead Millville 90
Rob Ennis Millville 90
Cody Sampson St. Joseph 84

Rushing touchdowns

Name School TDs
Lamont Harris St. Augustine Prep 21
Stefon Bowman Bridgeton 16
David Hood Absegami 15
Taalib Gerald Holy Spirit 14
Ryquell Armstead Millville 13

Passing touchdowns

Name School TDs
Tom Kelly Lacey Township 19
Jose Tabora St. Augustine Prep 19
Jamir Prevard Atlantic City 16
Ty Mindish Mainland Regional 13

Receiving touchdowns

Name School TDs
Christian Tutela Lacey Township 14
Austin Francisco St. Augustine Prep 12
Alex Padovani Hammonton 7
Isiah Graves Atlantic City 7
Jim Brennan Mainland Regional 7
LaDarrell Dixon Oakcrest 7

Field goal leaders

Name School Number Longest in yards
Jon Kubricki Pinelands Regional 5 36
Ryan Ulrich Barnegat 4 37
Joe Stadnicki Ocean City 4 38
Franco Rifici Holy Spirit 4 27
Alex Padovani Hammonton 3 30
Ryan Davis Cumberland Regional 3 47
Kyle Snow St. Augustine Prep 3 32
Mike McGarry
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James Clark
  • James Clark
  • Assistant Soccer Coach at St. Augustine Prep
  • James Clark has been writing about soccer for various media outlets, including The Press of Atlantic City, for 15 years. The Northfield resident coached travel teams in the South Jersey Soccer League for a decade and is currently an assistant soccer coach at St. Augustine Prep. Clark's blog will appear three times a week and daily during this summer's World Cup.