By Chris Teale (Photo/Chris Teale)
Less than eight minutes remained in the fourth quarter of the game between the Episcopal and St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes football teams last Friday when the hosts lined up at the Saints’ 18- yard line.
With his side already up 35-3, Maroon quarterback Seth Agwunobi took the snap and handed the ball off to running back Perris Jones, who found a gap in the line of scrimmage, juked away from a tackle in the secondary and cruised into the end zone.
For the hosts, it capped a 42-3 victory and kept their record at a perfect 4-0. For Jones, it was the perfect conclusion to another strong individual performance. On 21 carries, the junior rushed for 244 yards and had three touchdowns.
Jones’ first touchdown of the night at the temporarily-lit Hummel Bowl came late in the first quarter, as he broke free and rushed 42 yards to the end zone. Then late in the second half, Jones scored on the ground from 15 yards out to stretch the hosts’ advantage.
And on nine other plays throughout the game, he had runs for more than 10 yards, including a sequence in the third quarter where he rushed for double figures on four consecutive carries. Jones not only showed his ability to break through tackles and find space, but also showcased some nifty footwork to cut inside defenders.
“He’s one of the hardest people I’ve seen to tackle,” said Episcopal lineman Colin Dixon. “Being on his team, he’s the shiftiest person. Once he gets past that first line, it takes two or three people to bring him down.”
Since transferring from Bishop Ireton, Jones has piled up rushing yards. In two of the Maroon’s previous three games, he rushed for more than 100 yards, and has never failed to score at least one touchdown.
He has played a key role in Episcopal’s undefeated-to-date season, and says the Maroon’s senior leaders have been role models.
“I just kept working hard, following the example of [senior wide receiver and defensive back] Jonathan Sutherland and [senior tight end and defensive lineman] Luigi Vilain, doing what those guys are doing because they’re committed,” Jones said. “I’m just following in their footsteps, and they push me to be better so I keep trying to do what they do.”
The Maroon’s other scores against the Saints came on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Evan Lyerly to Shedler Fervius, an interception returned for a touchdown by Dixon and a fumble recovery taken to the end zone by Fervius.
But the players and coaches agreed that Episcopal has plenty to work on in the coming weeks, as games against some of the top teams in the region loom. On numerous occasions in the first half, the Maroon conceded yardage to the Saints on penalties.
“Our guys play with a lot of energy, and sometimes the energy translates into a lack of discipline at times,” said Maroon head coach Panos Voulgaris.
“We got a bit out of hand and had a ton of personal foul penalties, which shouldn’t have been the case,” said Jones. “We’ve got to work on it from that aspect and not hurt ourselves. That really set us back. Coach got on us about that, so we’ve got to cut that down a little bit and control our emotions.”
Episcopal next plays Bullis, another IAC opponent, this Friday.