INDIANAPOLIS - For Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville, the origin of its winning drive Saturday night started long before it got the kickoff, down by one, with just over four minutes to go.
In fact, it started long before it got on buses to make the trip to face Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central in a battle of two teams ranked in the RivalsHigh Top 100 in one of the weekend's top games.
"I was just trusting my coaches and teammates on those plays," quarterback Cardale Jones said. "I knew it was going to be tough, but I've been (playing football with) a lot of these guys since I was 7 or 8 years old, so I knew they'd come through."
Let's give Jones some credit here, too.
He was the one who converted on a fourth-and-17 from near midfield (hitting Evonte Dunn on a 31-yard play). He was the one who converted on a third-and-10 a few plays later. He was the one who ultimately went into the end zone, scoring on a 2-yard run with 11 seconds remaining.
His efforts gave No. 4 Glenville a 28-21 victory over No. 45 Warren Central.
"I grabbed my cane and just held on," Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr. said of the fourth-down conversion. "I knew what the play was going to be immediately, and when you've got a pistol, you fire."
And not just on fourth down.
Jones ran or threw the ball on 15 of the 16 plays on the winning drive and on 51 of the team's 62 plays during the game. He finished by going 19-for-37 for 240 yards and two TDs while adding 41 yards on the ground.
Jones, who has offers from nearby powers Michigan, Penn State, West Virginia and Cincinnati among others, didn't mind the emphasis. And at 6-5, 217, he didn't mind the punishment.
"It was pressure, but it's a privilege to be pressured," he said. "My coach put the game in my hands and that's what I want."
It was a tough result for Warren Central, which couldn't hold a fourth-quarter lead when the two teams met in 2007, eventually falling, 38-36.
This time, Warren Central thought it had it after Delonte Buckley (97 yards and two scores) went in from 7 yards out with 4:38 to go - and the point-after gave it a one-point lead.
Jones - and his longtime friends - had other plans.