Living life with a high motor

Published 6:46 pm Friday, April 6, 2012

He was the most underrated player on that Demopolis Tiger team that won the 2009 Class 5A state title.

The Demopolis team that season was loaded with talent. There were the well-publicized exploits of Martaze Jackson, the defensive end who later signed with Tennessee. There were big receivers like Fred Irby, who signed with Jacksonville State. And Anthony Hardy and Larry Cobb went to Tuskegee. And we all knew about DaMarcus James, who also went to Jax State.

But Tre’ Jones, in the estimation of the man who covered the squad all season, was the heartbeat of the Tigers. At the very least, he was the defensive heartbeat.

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He was undersized for his positions. He played some defensive end and some linebacker. But, regardless of the physical mismatches, Tre’ Jones played the way I always perceived him to live: full bore with a lot of heart.

Jones was hurt for a significant portion of the latter part of his high school playing career. But he did not feel the need to tell anybody, and he certainly didn’t feel the need to miss any playing time.

That 2009 team was special and Demopolis will always have the Blue Map to prove it. But Tre’ Jones led the way.

James’ numbers were unbelievable and he did what he did exceptionally well. But he was just a junior that season. Jones was in so many ways the mouthpiece of the team.

Jones pushed his teammates in both word and deed. And while Jackson was on the other side of the defensive line getting headlines and plenty of attention from opposing offenses, Jones was busting his backside every snap, causing his own brand of havoc.

He was the definition of high motor. But, more than that, Tre’ Jones was the definition of high character during his high school days. His grades were excellent. His work ethic was unquestionable. His attitude was one that any coach would want on his team.

And, most impressively, it was always apparent that Tre’ Jones cared about other people.

He was one of those rare high school kids who could have a conversation with anyone and at least seem to be really invested in the other person.

He was a special individual. That’s probably why #PrayForTre trended so well on Twitter Thursday night.

It is apparent that, in a very short time, Tre’ Jones touched the lives of so many around him at the University of Alabama just as he had here in Demopolis throughout his youth.

And, as the community just begins to grieve the loss of a wonderful, youthful, vibrant son, it is crucial that we honor the memory of Tre’ Jones by rallying around his family and friends with the same energy with which he lived his life.

Thank you to the Jones family for producing such a tremendous young man. And thank you No. 19 for the difference you made in your very brief life.