[By Larry Krantz, Special to ETSN.fm]

JACKSONVILLE – Brandon Jones intercepted a pass in the end zone then ran for a 48-yard touchdown on a free play just before halftime and the Nacogdoches Dragons continued their surprising season Friday with a 31-0 win in the District 16-4A opener against the Jacksonville Indians at the Tomato Bowl.

Jones, a sophomore, stepped in front of a Carter McCown pass late in the first half, snuffing the Indians’ best scoring opportunity and returned the the ball to the 37-yard line. Four plays later, Dragons quarterback Bryce Matthews, starting in place of injured starter Hunter McClellan, threw incomplete as the clock ran out.

But the Indians were flagged for being offside before the snap and the Dragons were given a free play since a half or a game cannot end on a defensive penalty. Given a  free play, the Dragons handed the ball to Jones and he ran 48 yards nearly untouched for a back-breaking touchdown that handed Nac a 21-0 lead.

Matthews completed 10 of 14 passes for 104 yards and a second-quarter touchdown to Sam Morgan. He also ran for 39 yards.

Nacogdoches' L.J. Barnes added a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first half.

Winless Jacksonville (0-6) appears to have an uphill battle ahead of them with games coming up this week against highly-ranked Whitehouse, a 63-7 winner against Lindale, and John Tyler on Oct. 25, a 51-22 winner against Corsicana.

Jacksonville was last shut out in 2006 in a surprising 39-0 loss at Whitehouse in the district opener. This is the latest the Indians have been winless on the field since the mid-1980's, when the Indians went a combined 1-19 from 1986-87.

Technically, the last time the Indians were 0-6 was in 2005. Near the end of that season, Jacksonville was stripped of six wins because of eligibility issues. The Indians went on to miss the playoffs one year after reaching the regional finals.

Jacksonville's Carter McCown (12) tries to evade Nacogdoches' Greg Roberts (95) during Nac's 31-0 win at the Tomato Bowl on Friday night. (ETSN.fm)