June Jones’ Houston Roughnecks win fifth-straight game, sit atop XFL standings

June Jones’ coaching success has followed him to the XFL.

The Houston Roughnecks defeated the Seattle Dragons on Saturday by a score of 32-23, improving the club’s record to a perfect 5-0.

Houston’s roster features a pair of former Hamilton Tiger-Cats in offensive lineman Demetrius Rhaney and placekicker Sergio Castillo. Arguably the highest-profile player on the team is defensive end Kony Ealy, originally a second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2014.

A key part of the Roughnecks’ success has been the stellar play of quarterback P.J. Walker — the Ottawa Redblacks own his CFL negotiation list rights.

The six-foot, 207-pound Temple product has completed 119-of-184 pass attempts this season for 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. No other passer has more than seven touchdown passes, an indication that Jones’ run-and-shoot offence has helped Walker succeed.

The Roughnecks sit atop the XFL’s West Division ahead of the Dallas Renegades (2-2), L.A. Wildcats (1-3), and Seattle Dragons (1-3). The two top teams in the division will face off in the West Final in late April with the winner advancing to the XFL’s championship game.

Jones took over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2017 when the team was 0-8 and led them to six wins in their final ten games. He reinvigorated the career of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli whole promoting star return man Brandon Banks to the starting lineup as a wide receiver.

Hamilton went 8-10 in 2018 under Jones and won the East Semi-Final, though they lost to Ottawa in the East Final. Jones planned on serving as the team’s offensive coordinator season in 2019 — allowing Orlando Steinauer to take over as head coach — but departed for the XFL instead.

Jones has 13 seasons of NFL coaching experience and 16 years at the NCAA level including seven years as head coach at Southern Methodist University. He served as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 1994-1996 and was the interim head coach of the San Diego Chargers in 1998.

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