Patterson football jersey No. 19 is reserved for "special players," all quarterbacks, said coach Roger Wrenn.
In the past, it was worn by former All-Metro quarterbacks Willie McGirt (Morgan), an option-style passer, and by Buddy Edmond (Frostburg), a pro-style passer.
"We've had about 10 or 12 first- or second-team All-Metros that had been effective, coming in all shapes and sizes," Wrenn said. "Some threw or ran better than others, but they all had that same quality: a confidence that borders on cockiness.
"If he makes a mistake, throws a critical interception or gets slammed to the ground, he's got to be able to get up, dust himself off and say to the team, 'Come on, guys, follow me to the promised land,' or whatever. It's a sacred position for us, and we try to think long and hard about who'll be wearing that jersey."
This year's savior, 5-foot-8, 153-pound Devin Jones, practically swims in the jersey. But looks can be deceiving: Jones is Patterson's pocket rocket.
"When we run the option, he's really taken control. And once he gets going, he's hard to stop," said Wrenn, who is 155-78-2 in 24 seasons. "He's come through for us both offensively and defensively."
On the season, Jones is 40-for-86 passing for 578 yards and four touchdowns and has rushed for 698 yards, nine touchdowns and four extra points. As a defensive back, he has 34 tackles (15 solos), six interceptions, two fumble recoveries and 12 batted-down passes.
"Every year at Patterson, there's one playing and another one waiting in the wings. Buddy waited for Mark Hall. Willie moved in after Buddy, and Carnest Peele was in after Willie," said Wrenn.
Jones waited his turn behind Peele during last year's 10-1 season, as sophomore Dino Alger is doing now. Behind Jones and a massive offensive line that includes Pat Stafford (6-4, 281) and George Hill (6-1, 269), the No. 2 Clippers went 9-1 and have won their fourth straight City 4A title.
In tomorrow's quarterfinal playoff game against visiting Sherwood of Montgomery County, ranked No. 3 in the Washington Post, Jones will play David against the Indians' Goliaths: 6-0, 208-pound running back Tyree Foreman and 6-3, 235-pound tight end-linebacker Graham Manley.
Last year, the Indians walloped the Clippers, 35-12, as Foreman ran for a career-high 271 yards and three touchdowns.
"We know how good they are, and we know it's going to be a big game for us," said Jones, who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and can throw 60 yards. "But if we come together, maybe we can pull it out."
Jones has bailed out the Clippers single-handedly on several occasions, perhaps most notably in a 42-36 victory over Northern. In that game, Jones rushed for 174 yards and the game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left, and passed for 77 yards and another score.
In an earlier victory over Lake Clifton, Jones limited two-time second-team All-Metro Terrill Lowery to two receptions for 11 yards, passed for 133 yards, scored Patterson's final touchdown with 9: 47 to play and killed the Lakers' final drive with an interception.
Jones scored three touchdowns in a win over Douglass and, in a regular season-ending 15-8 decision of Southwestern, had a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
"He's the ideal guy for what we needed this year," said Wrenn. "He runs the option like he invented it."
Pub Date: 11/15/96