John Stephen Jones, grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, was greeted first by his dad, tears streaming down the face of team CEO Stephen Jones after Dallas Highland Park clinched a Texas state high school championship.
The younger Jones scored two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score from the 1-yard line on fourth down in the third quarter, and Highland Park defeated Temple 16-7 for the Class 5A Division I title Saturday.
“So happy for all the Scots,” said Stephen Jones, who two days earlier had to stop in the middle of an answer to keep from choking up while talking about his son’s pursuit of a state crown. “Of course, love him to death. Don’t know what else to say. It’s just raw emotion.”
John Stephen, the offensive MVP, scored his first touchdown on a 36-yard run in the first half in front of 35,089 fans at AT&T Stadium, the $1.2 billion home of the Cowboys built mostly with Jerry Jones’ money.
Jerry Jones hugged his grandson after Highland Park (14-2) clinched its fourth state title and first since 2005. The postgame scene turned into a jubilant celebration for the Jones family.
Aledo won the 5A Division II championship Friday night.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, who attended several Highland Park games during the season, watched with Jerry Jones in a suite.
Stephen Jones sat in the stands with the other parents, just as he did throughout the six-game playoff run that included games at the team’s new 12,000-seat indoor practice facility that doubles as a home field for schools in the suburb of Frisco, 30 miles north of Dallas.
“He’s been by my side each step of this whole thing since spring,” the younger Jones, a junior, said of his dad. “My freshman year, when I got hurt last year, he’s been giving me advice, cheering me on with my mom. It’s been awesome.”
Temple (12-4) went ahead 7-0 on a 38-yard run by Jemiyah Franklin, followed by a 16-play drive from its 8-yard line to the Highland Park 22. The march ended on a failed fourth-down pass as Temple dropped to 2-7 in title games in its second appearance in three seasons.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, a Highland Park alum, had a pregame message that was shown on the huge video board hanging over the middle of the field. Stafford led Highland Park to its 2005 title.
Leading 14-7, Highland Park stopped Temple on fourth-and-1 at its 4-yard line early in the fourth quarter when Bennett Brock and John House stuffed Zion Leach at the line of scrimmage.
Highland Park padded its lead with a safety when Michael Clarke’s punt pinned Temple at its 1 and two plays later Reid Hesse was sacked in the end zone by Turner Coxe with 5 minutes remaining.
John Stephen Jones’ long TD run on a quarterback draw pulled Highland Park even at 7-all late in the second quarter.
Paxton Alexander led Highland Park with 144 yards rushing on 26 carries and John Stephen Jones was 9 of 23 for 96 yards with an interception. He was sacked three times and finished with 29 yards rushing.
Franklin had 78 yards rushing, and Hesse was 21 of 31 for 177 yards with an interception.