Numerically, it was the Jerney Jones show.
According to Republic’s senior running back, the spotlight should be on the offensive line despite a record-breaking night.
“I love my O-line; they did a great job opening holes,” Jones said. “I just had to run.”
Jones ran all over Glendale for 417 yards and seven touchdowns to propel Republic past the visiting Falcons, 71-34, and into the Class 5 District 5 Championship.
Along the way Jones rewrote the Republic record books. He snapped the school’s single season marks for yards, and points in a season during a game in which he set single game marks for yards, points and touchdowns.
“I’m honored, but I’ve got to credit my offensive line,” Jones said.
Most of Jones’ end-zone journeys went unscathed.
“All the holes were there, I just had to make one or two guys miss and some plays I didn’t have to make any(body miss).”
He broke the Tigers’ single game rushing record before halftime with 340 yards — the previous mark was 317. Jones carried the ball 19 times and averaged nearly 23 yards per carry.
“If something’s working we’re going to keep running it and make you stop it, then if you stop it we’re going to make an adjustment,” Republic coach Wes Beachler said. “We didn’t see anything that they were doing to stop us, so we kept on running.”
He entered the game tied for the team’s all-time single season scoring record. With 44 total points, he shattered Blake Cramer’s mark of 126 which stood since 1986. That was snapped on Republic’s first offensive play.
Cramer also held the previous school record for yards in a season (1,475). Not any longer. Jones topped that mark in the first half as well and now has 1,707 (unofficially) and growing.
With seven touchdowns, he finished one shy of the single game state playoff record (8), and three of his scores went for 65 yards or more.
“I’m still trying to figure out a way to medical redshirt (Jones) for one more year,” Beachler laughed. “I don’t think it’s going to work.”
Jones had such a big night that Tigers alternate back David Feil’s 118 yards on the ground looked pedestrian. Feil’s fourth-quarter touchdown gave Republic its highest point total in program history. The Tigers’ previous high was 64 against Ozark in 2014.
Republic had 619 total yards on the ground as the team’s single wing offense outgunned Glendale’s five-wide spread that poured 76 on Central in its district quarterfinal match a week ago.
Quarterback Alex Huston set the single season state passing record against the Bulldogs last week. Against the Tigers, Huston completed 43-of-66 passes and 510 yards with four touchdown passes. With the big night in Republic, Glendale’s gunslinger ended the year with 5,618 yards.
Huston was intercepted twice, once at the goal-line by Devon Ward, who scampered 100 yards for a touchdown.
Glendale receiver Luke Montgomery broke the state single-season touchdown record (27) on the Falcons first score, a max-effort 23-yards. Montgomery caught the ball just inside Republic’s 10. As he was being pulled down, the junior receiver rolled over his defender without his knee touching down then pulled a pair of Tigers into the end zone.
Reuben Lopez scored twice for Glendale, a 9-yard reception from Huston and a 99-yard kickoff return.
Glendale finished the year 4-7. The Falcons entered the game winning three in-a-row after the team lost five straight midseason games.
Republic will host Nixa next week for the District 5 Championship. The Central Ozark Conference foes squared off just three weeks ago. Republic captured its first win against the Eagles in eight years, 47-27.
“Obviously they didn’t like the outcome last time, so they’ll be ready to play,” Beachler said.