Hart High junior Da’Von Jones took a handoff on a misdirection play, slipped through a hole in the line and blasted up the sideline in the first quarter Friday night.
A straggling Golden Valley defender shoved him out at the Grizzlies 4, a 53-yard gain.
Hart’s coaches must have smiled. They’d found their spark, a running mate for quarterback Nick Moore.
Jones carried the ball four times for 132 yards in his second-ever game at running back.
The effort, coupled with Moore’s four rushing touchdowns and another stout defensive outing, propelled the Indians to a 35-13 win over the Grizzlies at Canyon High and kept Hart mathematically alive for a Foothill League title.
“It put a shock on my face,” Jones said of learning two weeks ago he’d start playing running back. “I was like, ‘OK, let’s see what I can do.’”
Jones, a safety and wide receiver by trade, broke off runs of 20, 53, 43 and 16 yards.
His 53-yard scamper set up Moore’s first touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
Jones’ 43-yard burst early in the third quarter set up a 9-yard Moore scoring run that put Hart (7-2 overall, 3-1 in league) ahead, 28-6.
Moore carried the ball 12 times for 99 yards. He has now rushed for 10 touchdowns in Hart’s last three games, all Foothill wins after opening league with a loss to Valencia.
The night’s third star was safety/receiver AJ Stanley.
The senior caught a backward pass from Moore in the second quarter and completed a 33-yard pitch and catch to Jack Sheehe that set up Hart’s second TD.
Stanley also intercepted two passes, returning one 33 yards for a touchdown to give Hart a 21-6 lead at half.
He intercepted five passes in last season’s matchup with Golden Valley, a 24-21 Hart win in double overtime.
“I’m honestly not trying to do anything different (against Golden Valley),” Stanley said.
The Grizzlies wish he would.
Golden Valley (5-4, 1-3) took a 3-0 lead on a 33-yard Gabriel Coronado field goal at the 6:19 mark in the first quarter.
But the offense sputtered after settling for a field goal again on their next drive. Standout running back KJ Maduike didn’t play until the second half due to an ankle sprain he suffered last week against Canyon.
He carried the ball three times for 4 yards.
“Their defense played really well, and we didn’t execute on offense,” said Grizzlies coach Dan Kelley.
Golden Valley quarterback Josh Valano completed 14-of-34 passes for 145 yards.
He connected with Jalin Lewis seven times for 104 yards, giving Lewis 858 receiving yards on the season — a new Golden Valley single-season record.
Hart couldn’t get its passing game going (Moore completed 7-of-13 passes for 34 yards), but it didn’t have to.
Moore scooted up the middle, mostly untouched, on a 55-yard draw play late in the third quarter. Moments later he faked a handoff and weaved through the Grizzly front seven for his fourth score, a 4-yarder that put Hart ahead 35-6.
Golden Valley will play West Ranch at Valencia High next week. Hart will play Saugus at College of the Canyons.