Jerry Jones’ grandson went out in epic fashion Friday night, again leading his Dallas high school to a state championship while becoming the first quarterback to throw for more than 500 yards in a UIL Texas state title game.
But that was only icing on the cake for Highland Park senior John Stephen Jones in a 53-49 win over Manvel in the Class 5A Division I finale at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the home of his grandfather’s Dallas Cowboys.
“We beat some great football teams to get here, and this was probably the best one tonight,” Highland Park coach Randy Allen said, according to The Dallas Morning News. “John Stephen is a great competitor, and he kept telling everybody on the bench that we’ve just got to keep coming back.”
Highland Park was down 49-39 with three minutes to play.
“It shows we have no quit. We’ll never count ourselves out,” Jones said, according to The Morning News. “It’s really special.”
Jones, 5-foot-10, 180 pounder who has received scholarship offers from Texas Tech, Arkansas and SMU, finished with 564 yards and four touchdowns on 37-of-58 passing, capping it with a thrilling 16-yard touchdown pass to Cade Saustad with 34 seconds left. That play was only possible because of Jones’ 28-yard completion on fourth-and-15 from the Manvel 39-yard line.
“I knew the corner was playing off and that I would have room inside,” Saustad said. “The coaches gave me a slant. I caught the slant and I expected to get blown up. I looked up and it was a clear lane to the end zone, and I dove in. It’s a dream come true.”
Highland Park left just enough on the clock to give Manvel a chance for their own heroics.
Enter Under Armour All-American Jalen Preston.
Preston, a receiver committed to Texas A&M who ranks 62nd in the ESPN 300, took Manvel to the 1-yard-line with a 30-yard reception. But he was tackled as the clock ran out.
It was the second state championship for Jones and Highland Park and the fifth overall for the school.
Jerry Jones greeted Manvel coach Kirk Martin after the game, offering him congratulations.
“He just told me what a great job we did,” Martin said, according to The Morning News. “One second and 1 yard short. That was the difference.”