HARRISON -- Harrison's hopes of advancing in the Class 5A State Playoffs rested on the legs of its third-string quarterback Friday night.
Beck Jones didn't disappoint.
The sophomore scored three touchdowns, including a 10-yard run with 21.1 seconds left, and the Goblins advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 21-14 victory over Camden Fairview at F.S. Garrison Stadium.
"I just came out and gave it my all," said Jones, who normally specializes in Wildcat formation plays. "I did it for Cole (Keylon) and all the guys that were quarantined and not with us. That's who I did it for. Down in my heart, I did it for the Goblins."
Harrison (10-1), which hosts White Hall next week, marched 52 yards in seven plays for the winning score after Fairview punted with 2:57 left to play. Jones, however, had to leave the game for a play when he lost his helmet, and Cy Madden -- who attempted the Goblins' only two passes of the second half -- bolted 17 yards around left end to put Harrison in Fairview territory.
Jordin Welch added two big runs to put the Goblins inside the Cardinals 20, and Harrison was content to get the ball in position for a game-winning field-goal attempt as the clocked ticked away. Jones, however, did something a little different as he kept the ball, regained his balance around the 7 and ran into the end zone.
"Coach (Joel) Wells said we were going to run something else, but if I see something to take it," Jones said. "I just kept my balance, thanks to a lot of agility work and other stuff. We got the win."
Jones was pressed into action after Keylon suffered an injury on the next-to-last play of the first half and didn't return. Logan Plumlee, the usual backup quarterback, was among "five significant players" who were forced to miss the game because of covid-19 protocol and contact tracing earlier this afternoon.
Jaden Bates' 52-yard interception return gave Fairview (6-5) a 7-0 lead at halftime, and the Cardinals were supposed to receive the second-half kickoff. Harrison, however, recovered the kickoff at the Cardinals' 33. Jones scored on the following play, finding a crease on the left side.
"We told our guys if we could get the score tied right here, we're gonna win this game," Wells said. "Our kids have a lot of heart. That might be one of the better wins in Goblin history right there.
"With all the adversity these guys dealt with in the last two days, to come out with a win like that is unbelievable."
Jones then gave Harrison a 14-7 lead on his 13-yard run with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter, but Fairview answered on the ensuring drive as Martavious Thomas flipped the ball to Reshard Clardy for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:27 left in the third quarter.
The Cardinals were able to return the kickoff to the Harrison 48 with 11 seconds left, but Thomas' two long pass attempts were batted down inside the Goblins' 5 as time ran out.
Henry Apple can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWAHenry.