PITTSGROVE TOWNSHIP – Sahmir Jones saw the sideline as he approached the right side of his offensive line.
The junior from Pleasantville could see his teammates getting excited. The quarterback with the legacy steeped in Greyhound history knew why his coaches were jumping up and down. The All-County track star knew what would happen if he could get to the sideline.
“If I can get to the sideline, no one is going to catch me,” Jones said. “If I get to the sideline I’m gone.”
Jones got to the sideline, in fact he did it twice on touchdown runs of 31 and 64 yards as Pleasantville beat Schalick 29-16 in West Jersey Football League game on Friday night. Jones carried the ball 13 times for 173 yards and added a touchdown pass as the Greyhounds improved to 3-0 on the season.
For a program that won just three games in the ten years before current head coach Chris Sacco took over in 2015, a perfect start is something to get excited about.
“It’s a great feeling to be 3-0,” said Jones, who transferred in from Mainland. “I don’t know how long it’s been since we were 3-0.”
Well, it’s been at least since 2003, when Pleasantville opened the year 2-0 before a loss. It was in 2003 that the Greyhounds last had a team that finished with a winning record and this team looks well on its way to at least that goal.
“These kids have put in the time,” Sacco said. “We made mistakes tonight, we overcame them. That didn’t happen in the past but it’s happening now.”
On this night, the Greyhounds had to overcome three turnovers, one muffed punt, two second half deficits and, of course, just a bit of history. Even though Pleasantville outgained the host Cougars (2-1) it took two big runs by Jones to pull out a win.
The first of the two touchdowns came after Schalick took a 16-15 lead with 7:49 to play in the game on a 3-yard run by senior back Tyreese Snipe. Snipe, who battled a right calf injury throughout the second half, powered his way home three plays after a Pleasantville turnover put Schalick deep in Greyhound territory.
“That turnover was on me,” Jones said. “I messed up the exchange.
“But you have to overcome those things. We have a strong team here and we have the ability to overcome those things. I just wanted to get that one back.”
On the next drive, an attempted onside kick by Schalick gave Pleasantville great field position on the Cougars 44-yard line. Four plays later, Jones went to his left and went down the home sideline for a 31-yard touchdown and a 21-15 lead.
“We practice that play a lot,” Jones said. “Actually we practice all of our plays a lot.’
After Schalick failed to score on its next possession, Pleasantville had a chance to ice the game if it held onto the ball for the final 3:05. Instead, Jones found the right edge and it was off to the races.
“I was just praying he didn’t fall down,” Sacco said. “We don’t play on grass that often. It’s getting a little wet out here I just wanted him to stay on his feet.”
“Me, I just wanted to score and get back to that sideline to celebrate with my teammates,” Jones said. “Now we can get back to work and prepare for Holy Spirit next week.”
Greyhounds 29, Cougars 16
Schalick 3-0-6- 7---16
S: FG Ethan Long 27
P: Mohamed Toure 1 run (Mohamed Toure kick)
S: Javon Spann 47 pass from CJ Holmes (kick blocked)
P: Elijah Glover 15 pass from Sahmir Jones (Daniel Samuel run)
S: Tyreese Snipe 3 run (Ethan Long kick)
P: Sahmir Jones 31 run (pass failed)
P: Sahmir Jones 63 run (Le'quai Athill run)