Profiles: From backup to starter, Jones emerging as leader for Bearden

Wyeth Wilson, Staff Writer

After waiting all of his sophomore season on the sideline, Bearden quarterback Cameron Jones has gotten his opportunity to lead the Bulldogs as a junior.

Although not all of the transition has been smooth sailing, Jones and the Bulldogs seem to be hitting their offensive stride.

“Now that I’m in the game and not standing on the sidelines, it’s a completely different level,” Jones said. “It’s more intense in the game, and I have to stay focused at all times and trust that my teammates are going to do their job so that I can do mine.”

Coming off the most productive game of his short career, Jones will look to lead Bearden (0-8, 0-5 District 4-AAA) once again at home against defending state champion Maryville (8-0, 5-0) on Friday night at 7:30 (TV:

Jones’s performance against archrival Farragut in the “Battle of West Knoxville” was his best of the season, and one of the reasons Bearden was able to come close to pulling the upset against the Admirals.

Jones finished the game 14-for-27 passing for 170 yards and three touchdowns, along with 49 yards rushing on 10 carries.

“[Jones] has really matured from last year,” junior wide receiver Skyler Hammett said. “I think he has learned to stay in the pocket and take a hit to deliver a pass, rather than to throw it away.

“He also likes to run, as everyone saw in the Farragut game.”

Running the ball was Jones’s main focus in the offseason, to become more of a dual-threat quarterback.

Bearden’s new offensive scheme requires more running from the quarterback, as opposed to previous years.

“He’s done a lot better at running the football, making a decision and going, managing the game, being in the right spot, and being a leader,” quarterbacks coach Alex Rouse said.

Though Jones says he tends to be more quiet and reserved, leadership is something he has continued to improve.

“I’m learning that I need to communicate more with my teammates, so that we can be more successful as a group,” Jones said. ”We all have the talent, it’s just about working together to use it.”