Havelock’s Jones growing into pro quality center with ECU football

Avery Jones just moved to center last season
Avery Jones making big impact on ECU's offensive line
Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 12:34 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Havelock’s Avery Jones knows all about high school football in the east. He has elevated his play to starting center for ECU. He just started the position last year and the Pirates are pleased with how far he has come.

“Just getting comfortable in that role. Last year was my first time doing it,” says ECU center Avery Jones, “Season and preseason is a lot different.”

“I think he’s obviously a lot more comfortable than he was a year ago after a year of experience under his belt,” says ECU head football coach Mike Houston, “The expectations are higher. He’s a high character young man, he’s a very athletic guy at center. and he’s a guy that has a pretty high ceiling.”

Havelock’s Avery Jones has worked hard at not only learning to play center but to see as a center.

“Kind of watch film any time I can,” says Jones, “Any free time I have on my phone. Look at a few plays. I am kind of on and off it all day.”

Quarterback Holton Ahlers certainly sees the same high ceiling coach Houston does.

“He’s tremendous, he’s an NFL center, the things he can do at center are incredible,” says ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers, “That’s a lot of things a normal fan doesn’t really notice. Some of the blocks he makes, some of the calls he makes is amazing.”

“We gotta stay on the same type of basis,” says Jones, “I control where we go as an o-line goes, he controls that too, so we kinda have to meet on the field in that moment.”

They have something special going where both Ahlers and Jones are clicking.

“As a quarterback I like to make all the calls and all the checks but I have a center that can do the same exact thing,” Ahlers says, “When we are going tempo he can make it so I can adjust the routes at receiver is super special to trust him.”

“We work together at it if I pick out a mic he might change it and vice versa,” says Jones, “so it goes back and forth.”

A trust created on purpose. Holton was sacked 35 times last season.

“Giving up a lot of sacks we feel like we shouldn’t have gave up,” says Jones, “Just off of mistakes and things that we can control.”

“People felt like you can’t give Holton time or he will shred you. If you can flush him and make him especially go to his right he will be less effective,” says ECU offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick, “So we really worked on the pass protection.”

Just a couple guys from the east helping the offense average almost 500 yards, and five touchdowns, per game so far.

“You just see what’s in front of you,” says Jones, “I’m locked in on Holton and he’s locked in on what we got going on.”

Eating together on and off the field.

“Shoot I try to feed them once a week at least,” says Ahlers, “That’s one of the things with the NIL I try to give them as much as I could cause they deserve it.”

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