Jones in lead role for Oakland Mills A star is born: Wide receiver puts on commanding performance for Scorpions.

November 10, 1995|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Antiwan Jones has gone from Oakland Mills' Invisible Man to Superman in just one season.

Almost every time the Scorpions have needed a clutch play, Jones, a wide receiver, has come up with it.

Last season, he played in anonymity on the special teams.

Now he has 26 catches for 503 yards and nine touchdowns.

"He's our MVP right now," Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet said. "He's emerged as the most productive guy on the team."

Jones has caught at least one pass in every game, including a high of six against Mount Hebron.

His game-by-game resume says it all.

In an opening-day win against No. 10 Aberdeen, he caught a 66-yard touchdown pass as the Scorpions won, 27-6.

Oakland Mills lost its next game to Linganore, which has lost only once. But Jones nearly turned the 14-6 defeat into a victory with two catches for 48 yards on a last-ditch drive that fizzled at Linganore's 20-yard line. He had four catches for the day.

The Scorpions also lost to another Frederick County power, Thomas Johnson, 25-22. On a wet field, Jones had four catches for 103 yards and three touchdowns.

Jones' would-be game-winning catch late in the game was nullified by a controversial offensive pass interference call. Thomas Johnson has lost one game.

Jones also plays safety. His only interception of the season came in a 15-7 victory over Centennial.

He again was sensational in a 28-6 victory over No. 13 Atholton, another playoff contender that has lost twice.

Against the Raiders, Jones caught four passes for 73 yards, and his 70-yard punt return for a touchdown gave Oakland Mills a 7-0 lead.

"No one will punt the ball to him anymore," Hovet said.

Jones followed that with an impressive performance against Wilde Lake by taking an end-around reverse 51 yards for Oakland Mills' second touchdown in a 29-15 win. Double-teamed the entire game, he also caught a 27-yard pass that led to the Scorpions' first touchdown.

"Wilde Lake was the only team that actually double-teamed him the whole game," Hovet said. "But everyone shades their safety in his direction. He made some circus catches against Wilde Lake."

Last Saturday against Hammond, he caught another game-winning touchdown in a 7-6 victory. Nine yards downfield, he snared a hitch pass, faked out Hammond's Tim Spruill and ran the final 30 yards to score.

"The hitch pattern is my favorite," Jones said. "All I hear is watch the hitch."

Hovet said: "Antiwan is the kind of receiver who has high yardage after the catch. Most of his patterns are short, but he averages 25 yards per catch. That makes other teams play him up close and opens up other things."

Jones is surprised about his sudden football success.

But it isn't the first time he's experienced it. He was a youth league football standout on the Columbia Bulldogs for one season and on the Howard County Trojans for two seasons.

"We've known about him," Hovet said. "He has great moves, breaks tackles in the open field, runs hard for his size and has clutch production. He's seldom brought down by the first tackler."

On a team typically deep in talented offensive players such as Oakland Mills, the 5-foot-7, 155-pound Jones had to wait his turn. Sam Smith was the team's wide receiver last season.

Jones also plays safety, and returns both punts and kickoffs.

Jones' brother, Keith Matthews, was an outstanding linebacker for the 1986 Oakland Mills team.

"He's one of my biggest boosters," Jones said.

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