Jamir Jones was supposed to spend most of his junior high school football season at Aquinas as a disruptive force, rushing in from defensive end.
An injury in Week 2 this past season changed that. Jones, also expected to play at receiver, not only had to step in for the Aquinas starting quarterback, but Jake Zembiec was named the state’s Class AA Player of the Year in 2013.
“It wasn’t something I was used to,” Jones said. “It was going to be a hard job, playing quarterback. Coach Tags (Chris Battaglia) didn’t let that get to me.”
Battaglia was excited to hear the news that Jones was named first-team all-state in Class AA as a utility player Wednesday by the New York State Sportswriters Association. The NYSSWA also announced the Class A teams, after it released the Class B, C and D selections last week.
“I know he sacrificed so much of himself to play quarterback,” Battaglia said. “It’s a great honor for him — it says a lot about him as a player and a person.”
There are two more first-team all-state selections for Section V schools, both on the Class A defense.
Greece Athena senior defensive lineman Brandon Puritt made 117 tackles, 21 for losses, and had five sacks for the Trojans, who reached the Section V final. Puritt, listed at 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, was named the Section V Ontario Honda Class A defensive player of the year.
Irondequoit (8-4) advanced to the semifinals of the Class A state tournament, with 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back Dylan Harrington leading the way. The Monroe County Division III co-Player of the Year intercepted six passes. He also caught 55 passes for 762 yards with 11 touchdowns as a receiver.
Jones is listed with the Class AA offense. He passed for 715 yards with six touchdowns. When Zembiec returned from a broken left wrist on his non-throwing hand, Jones made 17 tackles, six for losses, had three sacks and forced a fumble.
“I’m actually kind of surprised. I didn’t think I had one of my best seasons,” Jones said. “Being thrown into quarterback, I made a lot of young mistakes.
“It boosts my confidence, it makes me want to work even harder. (The coaches) always encouraged me, even when I made silly mistakes.”
Old Dominion University in Virginia Beach, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Syracuse have offered athletic scholarships to Jones, he said. Jones also believes that Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia, Duke and Miami also are recruiting him.
Jarron Jones, one of Jamir’s older brothers, is a defensive lineman at Notre Dame.
“I’m very far away,” said Jones about a decision. This spring, I want to go to as many schools as I can, see where I fit in.
“I want to have my dream school by the football season, honestly, if I can.”
Additional All-state team members
Class AA Player of the Year: T.J. Wheatley (Buffalo Canisius senior Defensive lineman). Section V players on second team: Mike Wagner (Victor senior QB), Nick Velte (Aquinas senior OL), Brandon Barker (Pittsford sr. LB), Earnest Edwards (Aquinas jr. DB). Third: Will Blake (Webster Schroeder sr. wide receiver), Fardan Allen (Rush-Henrietta sr. DB). Fourth: Joey Carrier sr. LB).
Class A Player of the Year: Jordan Fredericks (Lawrence sr. RB). Second: Osondi Dimba (Greece Athena sr. end), Greg Herrera (East Irondequoit Eastridge sr. OL), Cameron Rohr (Irondequoit jr. OL), Yunis Askar (Greece Athena sr. DL). Third: Ryan Heeb (Canandaigua sr. DL). Fourth: Jay’Von Hampton (East Irondequoit Eastridge sr. QB).