Any time you lose, it's disappointing. But when Austin High fell 31-30 to a strong Round Rock Westwood team on a last-second field goal, it represented a major change from the previous week, when the Maroons were never in the game.
"I feel like we were killing ourselves in the beginning," said wide receiver Cayleb Jones. "We could have put up a lot more points. We made some mistakes on our own, so being able to come out here and know we were fresh and make plays, it meant a lot."
Jones made more plays than anybody on the field, catching passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, while accounting for another touchdown when he pitched to brother (Isaiah Jones) after making a long snag on a slant-and-go. Isaiah took the ball the rest of the way for a touchdown.
"They weren't really aggressive with their coverage in the beginning," Jones said. "So you have to take advantage of that when you can, because it's not going to happen often. But I think things were just clicking with me and my quarterback and other guys were making catches, so it opened up stuff for me."
Chief among those guys was his brother, who has emerged as a strong No. 2 target for the Maroons.
"I feel like Isaiah and I have so much chemistry, obviously because we're brothers, but when stuff happens like that and I see him and I know he'll make the play for me and won't make me look bad," Jones said. "He's doing great this season, and there's much more to come."
But even with the help, Jones needed a number of circus catches, and won several jump balls, to get to 286.
"My dad tells me if I don't catch it, I'm not coming home," said Jones of the 50-50 balls.
"He's an unbelievable player," said L.D. Williams, Austin High coach. "Everybody who watches him oohs and ahhs and will always remember some of the plays that he does. He's remarkable. He's a man playing among boys. We love what he does, and he plays hard. Isaiah's the same way."
His hands and ability to make big plays drew interest from a number of schools, with Jones picking the local Longhorns. He said he was encouraged by a trip to the season's first Texas game, where the Longhorns defeated Rice 34-9.
"It was great," Jones said. "It was great to see the guys come out strong and not make many mistakes and make plays. Jaxon Shipley did a really good job, and so did the other receivers."
Jones said he was able to visualize himself running the same concepts.
"There are a ton of different plays for a ton of different guys, and they use everybody's strengths well," Jones said. "I'm looking forward to seeing what they're going to do with me."