LORDSTOWN - Although unintentional, Lordstown's Jake Jones scored his 100th goal in style.
The senior forward received an inbound throw from Dustin Hajnosz during last Thursday's 6-1 win over Campbell, but that pass was a little behind him. With his body going one way and the ball going the other, Jones proceeded to do the only thing he could to get a shot off - a bicycle kick. Not only did he get the shot off, but he also found the back of the net.
"It was probably one of my happiest moments in my high school career," Jones said. "Dustin (Hajnosz) threw the ball, and it was behind me. First instinct was to bike it."
The play shows how much of the tear that Jones is on as the big threat of the Lordstown offense, leading the team to an 8-1-1 record (5-1-1 in the Northeastern Athletic Conference). Following a four-goal performance in an 8-0 romp of Bristol at Lordstown High School on Tuesday, the senior has scored 28 goals this year and 66 in the past two seasons, according to his coach, Tim Malone.
Against the Panthers (2-7, 2-3 NAC), the senior took a more poacher approach, scoring two of his two goals off rebounds in the 52nd and 57th minutes to help bust open the match, while he showed a deft finishing touch with a chipped shot over the Bristol goalkeeper in the 59th minute from a difficult angle for the fourth goal.
Malone said Jones has many aspects to his game, which has allowed him to accumulate 104 goals in his high school career so far and earned him a second-team All-Ohio honor in 2012.
"Jake's probably the most aggressive forward I've coached over the years," Malone said. "Today was a kind of ugly game, so he was in that poaching mode. He's very advantageous, he gets good spacing on the ball, he always has the ability to get himself open. He's probably the best player I've seen in the air in years. Anytime the ball's in the air, he can put the ball on the ground."
It doesn't matter if the Red Devils play a more possession-based style of play, which they have tried to do for much of the 2013 season or if they use a more direct, long-ball approach to create chances - both Malone and Jones said the forward can adapt his game to make it work.
"My speed helps with the direct style, but once we get possession and we actually take our time with the ball, we can get the through ball going," Jones said. "With (Malone) teaching me to check and then go out to the outside run, that helps a lot. So, pros and cons for both."
While Jones has managed to accrue goals in bunches the past two seasons, he could have more, but when matches get out of hand and with the team having just two players on the bench, Malone moves Jones into a facilitator role.
Malone said he wants to use him as a playmaker to help him perhaps play at the next level, and when Lordstown holds multiple-goal leads late in matches, it's a good time to see what the 17-year-old senior can do in central midfield. The Lordstown coach also plays Jones in defense at times, showing Jones' versatility.
"He can pretty much do all of it right now," Malone said. "He can go back and play defense. He can play sweeper if I wanted him to - he'd probably be the best sweeper in the league if I'd let him. Right now, I'm going to take advantage of the fact he can score goals in bunches."
Lordstown still has a chance to win a NAC title, in the running with Badger and Maplewood. Jones said he wants a win against the Braves on Oct. 9, the last match of the season, because the Red Devils haven't done that during his career.
"Best possible way to go out is a win against Badger," Jones said. "(We) lost to them both times all three years so far, lost to them once already this year. So, that would be the biggest accomplishment to go out on."