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Samaj Jones shatters the St. Joe’s Prep record book in the Hawks’ 55-20 victory over St. Peter’s Prep

Written by: on Sunday, September 4th, 2022. Follow Joseph Santoliquito on Twitter.



PISCATAWAY, NJ — Samaj Jones stood at midfield with the game ball tucked under his magic right arm, holding his helmet in his left hand like he was coming off a construction site. When he first heard, he blinked in disbelief. The St. Joe’s Prep junior quarterback knew he broke some kind of record. What exactly he had no idea. He had to hear it again to make certain: He became the first quarterback in St. Joe’s Prep history to throw for over 400 yards and seven touchdowns in a game.

Jones completed 11 of 13 passes for 420 yards and seven touchdowns, and was responsible for eight total touchdowns, in the Hawks’ 55-20 thumping of St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) on Saturday night in the Rumble on the Raritan at Rutgers’ SHI Stadium.

Frank Costa, the former Prep star of the late-1980s who went on to play for Miami, held the previous single-game passing record of 370 yards, against Cardinal O’Hara in 1989, and another Hawks’ stalwart, Kyle McCord, owns the other Prep 300-plus yard passing games, which he did four times.

But no one, not even former NFL MVP Rich Gannon, a 1983 Prep grad, threw for over 400 yards in a St. Joe’s Prep uniform—before Jones erupted.

Jones threw touchdown passes of 72, 28, 42, 62, 15, 75, and 40 yards. He also added a second-quarter, 7-yard scoring run.

“In the beginning, I knew we were rolling and we take every game the same, we come out o-0,” said Jones, whose previous best was 199 yards passing last season in the Hawks’ season opener against St. Mary’s Ryken (Md). “Our o-line blocked really well, our receivers caught the ball very well, and our running backs hit the holes as hard as they could, and that opened up every passing lane we had.

“There was a lot of growth from last season. I’ll admit it, I saw a lot of ghosts last year. I’m more relaxed and I’m more comfortable.”

The other interesting point is that Jones owned the single-game school passing record by halftime, completing 10 of 12 for 380 yards and six TDs.

“It felt natural,” Jones said. “I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. I’d like to say this is definitely the beginning. I can’t be more grateful. Our line opened things up and our running backs ran hard.

“I hear the noise. Every day, every practice I carry a chip on my shoulder. I hear what everyone says about me. It just makes me want to work harder. I hear everything. I won’t stand here and say I don’t. It makes me work harder.”

Hawks’ junior receiver Elijah Jones, no relation to Samaj, also had a huge game, too, catching a career-best three touchdowns for a career-best 132 yards, with TD receptions of 28, 42, and 62 yards.

“I never had three touchdowns in a game before, and I know I never caught for over 100 yards before. Our offensive line gave Samaj protection and Samaj saw the field,” Elijah Jones said. “Maj is a different quarterback. He’s a dual threat who can run, throw and he can even leap over people.”

The game was over in the first quarter. It looked like a shootout early on, when Samaj Jones hit Brandon Rehmann with a 72-yard TD on a short route, which the St. Peter’s defender whiffed on. The Marauders responded by scoring on their first play, making it 7-7.

Then it was all Prep.

The Hawks scored on their next six drives, closing out the half with a commanding 49-13 lead, which jumpstarted the mercy rule for the remainder of the game.

“We had some challenges this week and the message was to respond (after the 48-37 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. last week),” Hawks’ coach Tim Roken said. “Adversity struck. We responded last week during the game, but we didn’t finish the way we wanted to finish. Then, we responded to the adversity of taking the loss.

“We put it together and that set us up for success. We’ve had some unbelievable players in my time here, and in St. Joe’s Prep history. Samaj is here, and this group is here, because of who came before them. It’s on them to continue the tradition. Samaj has grown up so much from last year. He has great talent around him, and he has great coaches to put him in a position to succeed, but he ultimately has to make great decisions and he did that tonight.”

And made history for a program rich in history.

Last Saturday, Samaj Jones made ESPN’s SportsCenter as the No. 6 Play of the Day, leaping over a St. Thomas Aquinas’ defender to score a touchdown. This Saturday, he threw for a St. Joe’s Prep single-game school record 420 yards and seven touchdowns.

What will he do next?

Scoring Summary

St. Peter’s (1-1) 7 6 7 0-20

St. Joe’s Prep (1-1) 28 21 6 0-55

1st Quarter

SJP – Brandon Rehmann 72 pass from Samaj Jones (Ryan Miller kick), 11:08

SPet – Zion Fowler 68 pass from Champ Long (Nico Duarte kick), 10:52

SJP – Elijah Jones 28 pass from Samaj Jones (Miller kick), 7:43

SJP – Elijah Jones 14 pass from Samaj Jones (Miller kick), 2:31

SJP – Elijah Jones 62 pass from Samaj Jones (Miller kick), :32

2nd Quarter

SJP – Khaseem Phillips 15 pass from Samaj Jones (Miller kick), 7:47

SJP – Samaj Jones 7 run (Miller kick), 4:05

SJP – David Washington 75 pass from Samaj Jones (Miller kick), 2:29

SPet – Kenyon Massey 32 pass from Long (kick failed), :52

3rd Quarter

SPet – Massey 13 pass from Long (Duarte kick), 6:35

SJP – Owen Garwood 40 pass from Samaj Jones (kick failed), 3:22

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball.

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