Jayce Jones boots 50-yard field goal as time expires to send Weber past Syracuse
SYRACUSE — Jayce Jones had a tailwind when he lined up for a game-winning, 50-yard field goal Friday night. He probably didn’t need it. Anyone who saw the kick will understand.
Weber High football’s kicker — who transferred to Weber from Syracuse High, by the way — nailed a 50-yard field goal as the clock hit zero to give the Warriors a dramatic 34-32 win at Syracuse and a wild, field-storming celebration in a game they had just started trailing a few minutes prior.
“Homecoming,” Jones said, before and after getting mobbed several times by teammates in the immediate, chaotic aftermath of the game. “When it came down to it, I did what had to be done.”
Syracuse had taken a 32-31 lead, its first lead of the game, by going for a two-point conversion with 55 seconds left. The Titans converted on a trick play pass to a wide-open Jake Hopkins, Syracuse’s quarterback.
Then the Warriors (3-2, 2-0 Region 1), thankful they still had two timeouts, marched down the field. Their players got out of bounds when they had to. Cannon DeVries caught a 15-yard pass and dove out of bounds at the Syracuse 32-yard line to set up the final kick.
“I hit 60 yards in practice, now we got 50 in game,” Jones said. “I knew it was in right when it came off my foot.”
The Titans (4-1, 0-1), owners of a stout defense, came in as probably the best challengers so far to Weber’s reign on Region 1 and, for 48 minutes, matched the Warriors punch for punch.
Logan Payne ran in for a 1-yard touchdown to give Weber a 7-0 lead on its first drive, which took 13 plays over 80 yards.
Syracuse responded with a 13-play, 80-yard drive of its own — an hourlong lightning delay happened in the middle of the drive — that ended with a 1-yard TD run by Chandler Christensen.
Aisea Moa ran in for a 1-yard TD to put Weber ahead 14-6, scoring on a direct snap out of a jumbo package the Warriors used to score against Farmington last week.
Weber’s defense, a young group that its head coach said is still coming along, got a stop before Jones made a 41-yard field goal to put the Warriors up 17-6.
Syracuse’s Jake Metcalfe got a 3-yard scoring run and the Titans made the 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 17-14 late in the first half.
Weber had a chance to extend the lead, but Jake Lindsay threw a pick to lineman Tyson Sweeten that set up a Bennett Carlson field goal and a 17-17 halftime tie.
“For a fan, it’s gotta be a pretty entertaining football game, you’re on the edge of your seat and it’s crazy,” Weber head coach Jayson Anderson said.
Just like the teams’ classic meeting in 2019 that ultimately decided the region title, Friday’s late showdown was back-and-forth and up for grabs until the very last second.
“I was having flashbacks a little bit of two years ago when they beat us on a last-second field goal,” Anderson said.
Payne ran for another TD to put Weber up 24-17. Weber’s defense got another stop, then Syracuse’s Ty Tesch intercepted a tipped pass and the Titans scored on that drive when Hopkins, the quarterback, ran in from a yard out.
Warriors quarterback Jake Lindsay kept the ball and scored on a running play to make it 31-24, which Syracuse again responded to with a wide-open catch by Tyson Stapley.
Then came a decision for Syracuse, with Weber up 31-30 and 55 seconds left on the clock: kick the extra point or go for two? Factoring into the decision was the fact that Weber had blocked Syracuse’s first PAT attempt in the first quarter.
“I’m disappointed for the kids,” Syracuse head coach Mike Knight said. “We haven’t been down all year so I was pretty happy with way the kids battled back and took the lead.”
The Titans basically ran a Philly Special, a reverse-pass play that resulted in Hopkins catching a wide-open pass in the end zone, giving the Titans a 32-31 lead, making the capacity crowd stand on its feet.
That crowd stood on its feet again when Jones lined up for the field goal minutes later with the wind at his back, and then it was the Warriors’ crowd that roared, somewhat unexpectedly, when the kick sped through the uprights.
“It’s a hell of a kick and I’m happy for him,” Anderson said.
The aforementioned chaotic aftermath of the game included Weber’s team celebrating very close to Syracuse’s sideline, which prompted the home crowd to start booing, and the aftermath of the game also included a confrontation between Syracuse administration and some of Weber coaches.
Eventually, both factions had to be separated. It wasn’t immediately clear what was behind the confrontation.