Jones puts on show in Meridian win over Nooksack Valley (w/ video)


LAUREL - His Meridian football teammates joked that they should yell "We love LT" when they broke from their post-game huddle on Friday, Oct. 11.

And why wouldn't they, especially after the night Letrez Jones turned in during the Trojans' 60-28 Class 1A Northwest Conference victory over visiting Nooksack Valley?

Jones had a Tecmo Bowl-type evening, putting up numbers that would make fantasy football owners drool, as he rushed for 302 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries and caught three passes for 56 yards and three more touchdowns.

"I don't even know how that happened," Jones modestly said. "Everybody just did their job and good things happened."

The good things definitely started up front, where Meridian's starting line of Tucker Garcia, Kaleb Heezen, Jacob Dennis, Spencer Blackburn and Blake Carson paved the way.

"It's fun," Blackburn said. "You know you've got to do your job. If you miss a block, he doesn't get to do anything. It's a team effort. We have to hit our keys. If you do that and he sees a little hole, he hits it and does what he does best."

And what Jones does best is run - and run fast.

While his teammates call him LT, he could just as easily be referred to as the Laurel Lightning, as he repeatedly left Pioneer after Pioneer in his wake.

"He's faster than any one of our kids - anyone in the league," Nooksack Valley coach Rob Myhre said. "He's strong, too. He doesn't just go down easy - he's a load."

On top of that, Jones is patient.

Despite all his speed, he showed Friday that he can set up blocks to help spring him for extra yardage.

"I feel like I'm getting used to my linemen - reading them from the back and getting it done," Jones said.

That was seen early, as he set up his blockers on a screen pass from quarterback Tanner Tutterrow to pick his way along the left sideline for a 13-yard touchdown on Meridian's opening possession.

He did it a second time two minutes into the second quarter, this time from 40-yards out and down the right sideline, to give the Trojans (4-2, 2-0 NWC 1A) a 14-0 lead.

"We've been practicing those (screen plays)," Jones said. "We just put them in this week, and we ran them good."

Jones showed his power on his third TD on the night, bulling his way in from 2 yards out, before sliding to the ground to catch a 3-yard pass from Tutterrow on the final play of the first half to give the Trojans a 27-14 halftime lead.

Despite the four TDs and 170 yards of total offense - 114 rushing - in the first half, Jones said he never really realized he had a special night going.

"I didn't keep track of that all," he said. "I just look at the scoreboard, and if we're winning, I'm all right."

Jones did his best to keep the scoreboard in Meridian's favor in the third quarter, scoring from 23 yards out, before adding his sixth touchdown of the night on a 41-yard counter run.

"That was just a big hole from the linemen," Jones said. "Anybody could have run that."

But not anybody could have opened it.

Meridian coach Bob Ames said Jones' big night on Friday actually started months ago with the work his line put in during the summer.

"Our fat kids got together all summer four days a week," Ames said. "They got bigger. They got stronger. They're really motivated."

Though Jones now has 533 yards rushing and six rushing TDs in the first two weeks of NWC 1A play, he was far from a one-man show on Friday.

Tutterrow finished with 173 yards and four TDs passing, hitting Jacob Plagerman for a 3-yard TD in the third quarter. Tutterrow also scored on a 3-yard keeper in the fourth.

Bryce Garcia added 83 yards and a TD rushing.

The Pioneers (1-5, 0-2) did their best to make it a shootout, though.

Lathan Halaapiapi robbed Garcia of the ball and returned the fumble that never hit the ground 15 yards for a second-quarter TD, before Curtis Handy caught a 13-yard scoring pass from Tanner Myhre to pull Nooksack Valley within 21-14 with 1:22 to play in the first half.

In the third quarter, Myhre found Connor Beard for a 57-yard touchdown strike and Brady Wood from a yard out.

But a failed fourth-and-1 conversion at the Trojans' 21 on the final play of the third quarter allowed Meridian to start pulling away.

"We had to score every time we had it if we were going to keep up with them," Robb Myhre said. "We just couldn't stop Mr. Jones. We kept matching their touchdowns. I didn't think they could stop us either. But then we had a fourth-and-1 down there, we missed a little block on the edge, tough break there."

Reach David Rasbach at or 360-715-2286.

Nooksack 0 14 14 0- 28

Meridian 7 20 19 14- 60

First quarter

Mer - Letrez Jones 13 pass from Tanner Tutterrow (Alan Eyoub kick)

Second quarter

Mer - Jones 40 pass from Tutterrow (Eyoub kick)

NV - Lathan Halaapiapi 15 fumble return (kick failed)

Mer - Jones 2 run (Eyoub kick)

NV - Curtis Handy 13 pass from Tanner Myhre (Joshua Gimmaka pass from Myhre)

Mer - Jones 3 pass from Tutterrow (kick failed)

Third quarter

Mer - Jacob Plagerman 3 pass from Tutterrow (run failed)

NV - Connor Beard 57 pass from Myhre (Beard kick)

Mer - Jones 23 run (Eyoub kick)

NV - Brady Wood 1 pass from Myhre (Beard kick)

Mer - Jones 41 run (kick failed)

Fourth quarter

Mer - Tutterrow 3 run (Eyoub kick)

Mer - Bryce Garcia 4 run (Eyoub kick)

NV Mer

First downs 18 30

Rushing Att-Yards 24-88 48-396

Comp-Att-Int 16-29-1 12-17-0

Passing yards 192 173

Penalties-yards 5-28 9-79

Fumbles-lost 4-0 3-1

Individual leaders

RUSHING - Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 19-70, Connor Beard 1-28, Parker Schram 1-12, Dalton Biehle 2-(-10), Brady Wood 1-(-12). Meridian: Letrez Jones 26-302, Bryce Garcia 16-83, Tanner Tutterrow 5-5, Cody Bachman 1-6.

PASSING - Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 16-29-1-192, Curtis Handy 0-1-0-0. Meridian: Tanner Tutterrow 12-17-0-173.

RECEIVING - Nooksack Valley: Joshua Gimmaka 6-51, Brady Wood 4-31, Curtis Handy 4-52, Connor Beard 1-57, Dalton Biehle 1-1. Meridian: Adam Mydland 1-7, Sam Chambers 3-51, Jacob Plagerman 3-42, Letrez Jones 3-56, Kyle Linderman 2-17.


Reach DAVID RASBACH at or call 715-2271.

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