It is very safe to say that the John T. Hoggard High School football program is in good hands at quarterback.
The Vikings have two NFA trained QBs on the varsity – sophomore Josh Jones and junior Bryant Sasser. The duo is splitting time under center at the Wilmington, N.C., school.
“We go out together and practice every day and compete against each other,” Jones said. “We work really hard and try to set a good example for our teammates.”
Working with NFA the past three years has helped Jones become a solid varsity leader, even as an underclassman. “I think it is very important to be a good leader,” Jones said. “I’m a leader on and off the field for my teammates.”
Hoggard got off to a 1-2 start this season after going 13-1 and advancing to the Eastern Regional Finals in 2014. “We’re really disappointed about that, but we still feel like we can turn things around and accomplish our team goals this season,” Jones said. “As a team, we really want to win conference this year. That’s our main goal. Of course, making the playoffs and having a good run in the playoffs is something else we’re shooting for.”
In the early going, Jones completed 18 of 34 passes for 200 yards while running twice for 30 yards. “I feel like I have the ability to run and I have the ability to throw the ball well,” said the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder. “But there are tons of things I need to get better at. I need to get my weight up and I’m really working on that. My speed is a really big thing for me to keep focusing on and I’m still working on my mechanics and getting everything right.”
As a freshman last season, Jones was the starting JV quarterback at Hoggard and the Vikings finished 8-2 while winning the county and conference championships. After passing for more than 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns and running for 4 more scores, he joined the varsity for the playoffs.
“That was a good experience, I really enjoyed it,” Jones said. “It really helped. It gave me some really good experience with how things work, the crowd, the noise. I’ve been there and that’s helped me feel more comfortable this season when I’m out there.”
After attending his first Duel in 2013 and not finishing in the Top 3, Jones was second in ’14 and second again this summer among incoming sophomores.
“NFA has helped me a lot with my leadership and with football,” Jones said. “But being at the Duel and competing against the top quarterbacks in the nation, it’s a great experience. I learn from it and I get better from it.”
While football is his focal point, Jones stays in shape for the sport by playing basketball, and he switched from baseball to track last spring. He also took part in 7 on 7 competitions through the spring and summer to get ready for his sophomore season with the Vikings.