The San Quentin All-Madden flag football team snagged four interceptions, including two in the second half by Jason Jones, to beat The Chosen 27-12.
On an overcast Nov. 4 day, All-Madden took the field hungry for a comeback. The week before, The Chosen showed up without former Oakland Raider Quarterback Andrew Walter and edged out a 28-20 victory.
“The last time they kinda put a smack down on us,” All-Madden Coach Dwight Kennedy said. “We were anxious to get out here, and we played more aggressive.”
Without Walter, or their normal QB Adam Perez, The Chosen relied on Phil Volta to fill in at quarterback. He played semi-pro with the San Luis Obispo Panthers as a fullback and defensive lineman.
All-Madden set the tone early with a touchdown run in by 19-year-old Anastacio Prado. With the extra point, the score was 7-0.
The first interception came early in the game. Volta launched a bomb that Al -Madden’s Calvin Willis caught lying on his back across the muddy football.
“That was a great interception,” The Chosen Sponsor Pastor Wayne Jackson remarked from the sideline where he stood with his road dog, James Troutt.
“I came out here to share the Word and have the Word shared with me,” Troutt said. “Inspiration comes from everyplace.”
Trout does Men’s Ministry and sings in a choir.
All-Madden struck again when Kent Craig ran in another touchdown.
“My wide receivers are doing their thing, the line is holding up, we all playing as a team,” All-Madden QB Devin Cole remarked.
The Chosen struck back about 4:00 before halftime. Volta completed a 25-yard pass to Omar Bennett, who ran it in to make the score 13-6 All-Madden.
Bennett, now 38 years old, played wide receiver for Cal Berkeley from 1998-2000 and the University of Hawaii from 2001-03.
With less than three minutes left in the first half, All-Madden marched down the field into the red zone with a few good plays.
Cole dropped a dime pass into the hands of D. Zyad Nickolson for 15 yards.
Jones, pulling a LaDamien Tomlinson–type move, lined up at the running back position but reversed roles to throw a 25-yard pass to Cole.
Cole ran for an additional 45 yards on the next two plays to put All-Madden in the end zone, where The Chosen held them without allowing another first-half touchdown.
Pastor Jackson delivered a halftime message about finding joy in good and in bad times. He was dressed in a hoodie, black baseball cap, sweats, and had both knees wrapped up, as if ready to join the game if his sons, Andre and Anthony, needed him on the football field. With both teams circled around, he said, “No matter what happens, know you have power in God’s Holy Spirit. You can lose a lot of things—I lost my hair—but don’t lose your faith.”
In the second half, Cole made a pass from The Chosen’s 10-yard line that Finis Jones intercepted and ran toward the goal. Right before crossing the goal line, Finis Jones was held up.
The Chosen received the ball half the distance from the goal line, leaving two yards between them and tying the game. As Volta cocked back to throw a pass, Nickolson snagged the ball out of his hands and completed the pick-six for a 19-6 lead.
Volta again threw an interception, this time to Jason Jones, who yelled in triumph, “I do this. I tried to tell you, I do this.”
The Chosen responded on their next possession. Volta pushed through the All-Madden defensive line for a 10 yard gain.
“I’d rather run the ball because I like to run people over,” Volta said.
Then he followed with a 10-yard pass to John “Dunnie” Windham, a San Quentin resident who played for visiting The Chosen squad. Windham caught the pass and ran it 50 extra yards for a touchdown, which made the score All-Madden 19-12.
All-Madden struck back with a 15-yard pass to Nickolson, who ran it down the sidelines for an additional 40 yards. Cole completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Kent Craig, who out-jumped the defensive in the end zone for the catch and the 25-12 lead.
On the next possession, 51-year-old Brad Shells sacked The Chosen’s QB for a safety, which increased the lead to 27-12.
“We’re running the ball the rest of the way,” All-Madden Coach Kennedy said.
After All-Madden went four and out, The Chosen had five minutes to make a comeback run. Volta, however, couldn’t get a pass off. First All-Madden’s Brontray Moore batted down Volta’s pass attempt for the second time in the game.
Then Volta threw another pass that Jones intercepted.
“He’s their star,” The Chosen’s Ryan G. said of Jones. “We shouldn’t be throwing to his side, but we do. He beat us. It’s all in good fun. It’s actually fun to go up against someone who can play.”
The teams all greeted each other with smiles and handshakes after the game.
“It’s very heartfelt to know somebody on the outside cares to take the time to fellowship and be with us,” Kennedy said. “It really means a lot. May God bless them.”
All-Madden Defensive Lineman JohnRay Ervin Sr. added, “Having this opportunity means everything to me. This is me being free. This is my peace of mind and my humanity.”