It has been 405 days since Fountain-Fort Carson senior Q Jones has played a varsity snap.
After facing injuries and the delayed season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jones hit the field Friday ready to make an impact, because he knows "tomorrow isn’t guaranteed."
“It’s like getting a second chance at life,” Jones said. “Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and my next snap isn’t guaranteed. I went through an injury and I know that from experience, so every time I get the ball I’m going to make sure it’s something special.”
He stayed true to his word Friday.
On the Trojan’s first play from scrimmage, Jones took the handoff and ran in a 32-yard touchdown -- his first of four in Fountain-Fort Carson’s 54-0 win over Coronado.
Jones had at least 157 yards on scoring plays alone in his senior debut, including a 57- and 48-yard scores.
Fountain-Fort Carson set the tone early on both sides of the ball with a fast defensive stand on Coronado’s first drive. Led by sophomore Tai Faave, the Trojans put immense pressure on Coronado quarterback Mitchell Nowlan. The Trojans forced the Cougars to go 3-and-out and later gained favorable field position on the ensuing punt for Jones’ first touchdown.
“We kept it really simple on defense this week so they could play really fast, and I think that has helped us,” said Fountain-Fort Carson coach Jake Novotny. “We just went back to the basics, and with the shortened season and shorter prep time we kind of have to do that. So I think they did a great job just running to the ball.”
Quarterback Tavian Tuli had a short, seven-yard touchdown pass to Malik McClarty before the Trojans found themselves back in the end zone less than a minute later as Lawrence Walker recovered a high snap in the end zone for a touchdown. Curtis Jackson closed out the first half with an interception and 20-yard return to put Fountain-Fort Carson up 40-0 at the break.
Tuli ran the ball effectively before finally airing one out for a 44-yard completion to Vicente Herrera later in the second quarter. And Novotny said to expect more of that from the sophomore this season.
“I think Tavian’s strength is his arm,” Novotny said. “It’s a little different when you are declared the starter from day one, and the expectations are higher now. So he’s got to meet those, but he is doing a great job and he is just going to keep getting better. We just have to get him confident.”
While the scoreboard and the way Fountain-Fort Carson made its way into the end zone suggest a team in fine form, Novotny said this week’s practice will focus on avoiding self-induced errors.
“We have to get better at controllable penalties,” Novotny said. “We had 13 or 14 penalties tonight, so there is always room for improvement.”
And Jones is looking forward to it.
“It’s only up from here. We are going to keep pushing and keep moving,” Jones said. “We are a team that wants to be a championship team, so we are going to approach every game as if we are a championship team.”
To achieve that championship caliber, Jones said his team is honing in on Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality.
“Iron sharpens iron,” Jones said. “We are really focused and we are just doing the right things to get better every day.”