Sting of defeat fuels Jones toward 2009 title

Published 10:24 pm Tuesday, June 2, 2009

He sat motionless for minutes after the final play. His eyes were wide and his face fresh with the shock that accompanies such a defeat.

All around him teammates and coaches were crying. But not Tre Jones. For Jones, then a junior defensive lineman, the sorrow of the Demopolis Tigers’ dream season screeching to a halt was mingled with the realization that the same second-chance field goal which sent Carver to the semi-finals of the Class 5A playoffs had also sent his team back to square one.

“Lifeless,” Jones says as he looks back on the moment. “It was like everything was over. You think that now we have to start all over again from page one.”

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As he drank in the final moments of the 2008 season, Jones began to grasp the notion that the 2009 campaign would weigh heavily on the efforts put forth by he and his classmates.

“I think Tre got a taste of finality when those seniors left that field at Cramton Bowl,” DHS head coach Tom Causey says.

Perhaps it was that moment or maybe it was something already present within him, but Jones has since embraced the challenge of leading Demopolis in 2009.

“He’s a great kid. He’s one of those guys that always wants to please,” Causey says of Jones. “He brings versatility and a willingness to do whatever needs to be done.”

Jones is far from the flashiest player on the field. And at 5-foot-8, he lacks the ideal size for which most collegiate coaches look. However, Jones has continually proven a nuisance to opposing offenses as both a linebacker and a defensive end.

“Every high school coach in America has got or wants a Tre Jones,” Causey says. “He’s a winner. Everything about him is winning. He represents the City of Demopolis when at home and on the road with high class and character.”

That character is on display every time the DHS coaching staff asks Jones to accept a task low in glory and high in effort.

“Against Thomasville, we asked him to do nothing but attack the offensive tackle for four quarters and not allow him to get on our linebackers,” Causey says of his team’s 2008 match-up with its long-time rival. Causey explains that Jones not only accepted that task, but was happy to do so.

“He enables (defensive end) Martaze Jackson and (defensive tackle) Tremaine Sanders and, last year, (linebackers) Greg Irvin and Jacob Kerby to make plays,” Causey says with a complementary air.

“If I was a selfish player, I wouldn’t do those things,” Jones says of the on-field efforts that often help others make plays. He believes such jobs are essential to finding success as a team and ultimately winning a coveted state championship.

“This is the class. If we’re going to do it, this is the year,” Jones says of reaching a goal that has thus far proven elusive for Demopolis.

How Jones remembers his senior season will be dictated primarily by how successful the Tigers are at achieving that objective in 2009.

“State championship ring,” he says of his primary focus. “Wanting to play college ball is a selfish thing. There’s a lot of other guys out there on the field I can share that with. I think I can live without that college thing. But a state championship in your senior year of high school football, that comes around one time.”

“Whether Tre Jones ever plays a snap past high school remains to be seen,” Causey says. “But I think what matters to Tre Jones is the success of his team.”

As he looks back on that one late November night that saw his older teammates shedding tears as they walked off the field for the final time, Jones discovers a newfound appreciation for the fleeting nature of his high school football career.

“It was all gone in just 2.2 seconds,” he says of the series of events that ended the 2008 campaign and the playing careers of many of his long-time friends. “Just that fast.”