Special Teams Has Major Impact in Braves Win Over Concord
Devin Jones Provides Spark in Return Game:
Special teams can often be the spark that ignites a team in the onset of games, the flame that sparks the flint for a comeback or the pendulum swing that carries the momentum back in a team’s direction.
Defensive back Devin Jones provided that spark for the Braves in the return game and his 97-yard kickoff return touchdown not only put the team ahead and incite cheers from teammates as well as the home crowd, but it changed the way the game would be played the rest of the way.
“It’s fun to watch Devin. He’s extremely fast and smart with the ball in his hands. He knows what he’s doing and when he gets going, not a lot of people are going to be able to stop him. When we see points go up on the board and we really didn’t have to do anything, we love it,” said quarterback Josh Jones.
From that point on he only managed to add just 19 more yards to his 116-yard total because the Mountain Lion kickoff specialist was either instructed or made a conscious decision himself to make a concerted effort to stay away from giving Jones more opportunities.
“Devin Jones is electric, and we know that. There’s things we’ve been working with him on in practice and throughout preparation to try to get him these opportunities and to even create them better for himself and to see him be able to take advantage of that…it was good to see,” said Head Coach Shane Richardson.
As a result, their kicker decided to use multiple squib kicks (shorter kicks up the middle) in a maneuver to limit or neutralize Jones’ ability to use his game changing ability.
The threat of Jones was advantageous to the offense as their average starting field position following kickoffs were at least their own 30-yard line and even as far up as the 44-yard line after his opening scoring jaunt.
“He’s a very positive factor when he gets those opportunities and unfortunately teams get smart and they keep the ball away from him so we just have to work with that,” said Richardson.
Parks’ Punts Continue to be a Weapon:
Punter Isaac Parks was fantastic again in executing his masterful punts. He finished with 183 yards and averaged 45.8 yards a punt, with his longest being a 54 yarder.