In just two short seasons, Warrior running back Jontez Jones has established himself as one of the premier playmakers in the Blue Collar Football League.
As a rookie in 2014, Jones led the Warriors in rushing and set a rookie team record for total yards from scrimmage while helping the Warriors reach the Northern Frontier Football League Championship game. He hasn’t lost a step this year, as he leads the team with just under 1,000 rushing yards and is tied for the team lead with eight total touchdowns.
But as good as he’s played in his first two seasons, Jones is just glad to be back on the gridiron.
“I was just glad that I had the opportunity to get out there and show them I could help out,” Jones said.
Before joining the Warriors, Jones last played football in the fall of 2010 when he was a senior for Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky. That season, he gained interest from colleges across the country by rushing for over 1,000 yards in Kentucky’s toughest high school division.
Despite the interest from much larger schools, Jones decided to accept an offer from D-IAA Eastern Kentucky to remain close to home. However, it didn’t take long for him to feel out of place on his new team.
“I just got tired of the program. They were doing a lot of things that I wasn’t too fond of,” Jones said.
Jones never picked up a single yard for the Colonels, and in 2012 he decided to the leave the program.
Thinking his football career was over, Jones returned to Lexington and began looking for work. Though he knew he still had the stuff to play football at the next level, he was forced to take a manufacturing job.
“At that time, for football, there was just no chance. No one was trying to give me the opportunity,” Jones said.
That is, until his cousin introduced him to the world of semi-pro football. Dro’Ore Taylor, a defensive lineman for the Warriors, contacted Jones prior to the 2014 season and told him to give it a shot.
At first, Jones was hesitant.
“I didn’t take them too seriously because I had never heard of them,” he said.
But the more he thought it, the more he realized that the Warriors were his only left to make it in organized football. After nearly two years without playing, Jones strapped on his helmet and hasn’t looked back.
After tearing up semi-pro football for two seasons, Jones now has his sites set on the next level. Though he technically still has a few years of NCAA eligibility left (Warriors players aren’t paid and are technically classified as amateurs), Jones feels his best shot will come at the lower rungs of professional football, with either the Arena Football League or the Canadian Football League. With the help of Warriors management, Jones has been sending his tape across the continent to hopefully land a deal. He’s even had discussions with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, and hopes to try out for them this winter.
But while he’s still with the Warriors, Jones figures he might as well enjoy the ride.
“I just felt like I’ve got nothing to lose,” he said.
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter