Written by: Joseph Santoliquito on Sunday, September 4, 2022.
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PISCATAWAY, NJ — Samaj Jones stood in midfield with the game ball under his magic right arm, holding his helmet in his left hand as if coming out of a construction site. When he first heard, he blinked in disbelief. The St. Joe’s Prep junior quarterback knew he had broken some kind of record. What exactly he had no idea. He had to hear it again to make sure: He became the first quarterback in St. Joe’s Prep history to throw for 400+ yards and seven touchdowns in a game.
Jones completed 11 of 13 passes for 420 yards and seven touchdowns, and was responsible for eight total touchdowns, in the Hawks’ 55-20 defeat of St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) on Saturday night in the Rumble on the Raritan at Rutgers ‘SHI Stadium.
Frank Costa, the former Prep star of the late 1980s who later played for Miami, held the previous single-game passing record of 370 yards, against Cardinal O’Hara in 1989, and another stalwart of the Hawks’ Kyle McCord owns Prep’s other 300-plus-yard passing games, which he’s done four times.
But no one, not even former NFL MVP Rich Gannon, a 1983 prep graduate, threw more than 400 yards in a St. Joe’s prep uniform, before Jones burst.
Jones threw touchdown passes for 72, 28, 42, 62, 15, 75 and 40 yards. He also added a 7-yard rush in the second quarter.
“At the start I knew we were rolling and we take every game the same, we go 0-0,” said Jones, whose previous record was 199 passing yards last season in Game 1 of the League. Hawks season against St. Mary’s Ryken (Maryland). “Our o-line blocked really well, our receivers caught the ball really well and our running backs hit the holes as hard as they could which opened up all the passing lanes we had.
“There has been a lot of growth from last season. I admit it, I saw a lot of ghosts last year. I’m more relaxed and I’m more at ease.
The other interesting point is that Jones owned the school passing record in a single game at halftime, going 10 of 12 for 380 yards and six touchdowns.
“It felt natural,” Jones said. ” I can not believe it. I still can’t believe it. I would like to say that this is definitely the beginning. I can’t be more grateful. Our line opened things up and our running backs ran hard.
“I hear the noise. Every day, at every practice, I carry a chip on my shoulder. I hear what everyone says about me. It just makes me want to work harder. I hear everything. I’m not going to sit here and say no. It makes me work harder.
Hawks junior receiver Elijah Jones, unrelated to Samaj, also had a huge game, catching a career-best three touchdowns for a record 132 yards, with TD receptions of 28, 42 and 62 yards.
“I had never had three touchdowns in a game before, and I know I had never caught more than 100 yards before. Our offensive line protected Samaj and Samaj saw the field,” Elijah Jones said. “Shift is a different quarterback. He’s a dual threat that can run, throw, and he can even jump over people.
The game ended in the first quarter. It looked like a shootout early on, when Samaj Jones hit Brandon Rehmann with a 72-yard touchdown short drive, which the St. Peter defenseman snorted. The Marauders responded by scoring on their first game, making it 7-7.
Then everything was prep.
The Hawks scored in their next six practices, closing the half with a 49-13 lead, which revived the mercy rule for the rest of the game.
“We had some challenges this week and the message was to respond (after the 48-37 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. last week),” Hawks coach Tim Roken said. . “Adversity hit. We responded last week during the game, but we didn’t finish the way we wanted. Then we responded to adversity to take the loss.
“We put it together and it set us up for success. We’ve had some amazing players during my time here and in St. Joe’s Prep history. Samaj is here, and this group is here, because of who came before them. It is up to them to perpetuate the tradition. Samaj has grown so much since last year. He has a lot of talent around him and he has great coaches to put him in a position to succeed, but ultimately he has to make big decisions and he did that tonight.
And makes history for a program rich in history.
Last Saturday, Samaj Jones did ESPN sports center as the No. 6 play of the day, jumping over a Saint-Thomas d’Aquin defender to score a touchdown. This Saturday, he threw for a St. Joe’s Prep single-game school record 420 yards and seven touchdowns.
What will he do next?
St. Peter (1-1) 7 6 7 0-20
Preparation of St. Joe (1-1) 28 21 6 0-55
SJP – Brandon Rehmann 72 Samaj Jones pass (Ryan Miller kick), 11:08
SPet – Zion Fowler 68 pass from Champ Long (Nico Duarte kick), 10:52
SJP – Elijah Jones 28 Samaj Jones pass (Miller kick), 7:43
SJP – Elijah Jones 14 Samaj Jones pass (Miller kick), 2:31
SJP – Elijah Jones 62 pass from Samaj Jones (Miller kick), :32
SJP – Khaseem Phillips 15 Samaj Jones pass (Miller kick), 7:47
SJP – Samaj Jones 7 run (Miller Kick), 4:05
SJP – David Washington 75 pass from Samaj Jones (Miller kick), 2:29
SPet – Kenyon Massey 32 pass from Long (miss), :52
SPet – Massey 13 Long pass (Duarte kick), 6:35
SJP – Andrew Bachman 40 pass from Samaj Jones (miss), 3:22
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has covered high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball.
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
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