Back on Sept. 1, the Houston football team was 1-2 and Shawne Jones was on the sidelines recovering from a broken fibula.
Fast forward to Friday. Houston is arguably the hottest team still standing in the Class 6A playoffs, and Jones is driving the bus. Next stop, Brentwood High for a state semifinal game.
Jones, a senior receiver, set up one touchdown with a spectacular catch over two defenders and scored one himself as Houston won its 10th straight game, 30-10, over host Germantown in a state quarterfinal game.
It was a rematch of the regular-season meeting over two months ago that the Red Devils won, 14-13. But Germantown — which had been terrific in winning its first 12 games — is now through for the year and it’s Houston that will be visiting undefeated Brentwood next week with a trip to the BlueCross Bowl on the line.
“The offense just drove the football and we made smart plays,” said Houston coach James Thomas, after watching his team advance to the quarters for the first time since 2019. “We controlled the game for a long time. ... It’s awesome. Any time you’re practicing on Thanksgiving, you know you have a good football team.”
Houston certainly has much to be thankful for.
Chyco Williams and Owen Waggener intercepted passes to highlight another strong defensive performance. Damon Sisa ran for a touchdown and caught another on a beautifully-designed screen pass.
But Houston would not have won without Jones.
Germantown trailed 10-3 at halftime but evened things up early in the third behind their Mr. Football semifinalist, Cordero Walker. The senior scampered 45 yards deep into Mustang territory then did the honors himself from a yard out to tie the game.
But moments later, Houston quarterback Chandler Day threaded a pass to Jones, who somehow made the catch between two defenders for a sizeable gain into Germantown’s red zone. Day zipped a 12-yard strike to Andre Allen to give the Mustangs a lead they would not relinquish.
“I thought I was going to get hit but I knew I had to catch the ball,” said Jones of the catch that prompted incredulous shouts from the stands.
Added Thomas, “Oh my goodness. I was sitting there going ‘oh my gosh.’ He’s a good player and we missed him for a long time but he’s been with us through the whole playoffs and he’s just getting better and better.”
Williams’ interception set up Sisa’s touchdown run that made it 24-10 with three minutes to go in the third, before Day connected with Thomas midway through the fourth to ice it.
“I know we’ve gotten a lot better since that Week 3 game,” said Jones. “We know as a team that we can beat anybody; we just came out and showed everybody else.”
Jones was one the Houston players wore orange tape in tribute to Jacques “Tank” Nelson, who was shot and killed last weekend. Nelson played freshman football at Houston before transferring to Central and was friends with several of the Mustangs.
Thomas said orange was the player’s favorite color.
“A lot of our guys grew up in the same neighborhood with him,” said Thomas. “We had heavy hearts for him all week. It’s just the reality of life; yeah, we just won a football but a young man lost his life. No one should have to bury their child that early. Just terrible news.”
Houston will be joined in the semifinals by Southwind and Fairley.
The Jaguars kept their best season in program history alive with a second-half rally, coming back from an 8-point deficit to defeat host Henry County, 28-21. Southwind (13-0) is the lone undefeated team left in Class 5A, and will visit Page next week.
Mr. Football semifinalist Kelvin Perkins threw touchdown passes of 23 and 54 yards to Jamariyen Farmer while Jalen Morris scored on runs of 13 and 15 yards for the Jaguars, who trailed 14-13 at halftime and then went down by eight points when the Patriots scored in the third quarter.
It will be the Jaguars’ first trip to the state semifinals and also the first for Fairley, which eliminated Memphis Business Academy, 34-0, in a Class 2A game played at Kirby. It’s the 10th victory of the year for the Bulldogs — with all 10 coming by shutout.
The Executives, who won their first two postseason games in program history to reach the quarterfinals, end the year with a record of 8-4.
In Class 3A, C... Click here to read full article