Sunday, February 3, 2013

Olympus football: Jake Jones profile

In early February, I interviewed Jake Jones, who played fullback and defensive end for the Olympus High School (Utah) football team. Here is the article that will appear in the team's 2012 yearbook.

Jake Jones:
Titans counted on him to lift them
from their early season woes

By Bruce Smith
            Jake Jones didn’t have to think long to name the turning point of the Olympus Titans’ 2012 football season.
            “I’ll always remember the Skyline win because it was Skyline,” he said. “But the turning point was Westlake. Definitely Westlake.”
            Jones started at fullback and defensive end for the Titans and, as one of just three returning starters, he seemed to be always in the middle of the action. He said some of his friends at school had started to doubt the team because after it had dropped its first three games of the season.
            The school, however, had a strong football tradition. Olympus had built three straight winning seasons and was the defending Region 7 champ.
            Some of the pressure lifted after Jones scored three touchdowns in Oly’s 42-0 win over Taylorsville, but that was a game they were supposed to dominate.
            “We were psyched,” said Jones. “Those games helped us later in the season. We knew we could play with them and were as good as any team in the state if we got it together and played our hardest.”
            The Titans’ outburst at Westlake started as soon as they got off the bus. Oly scored on the game’s first possession and never looked back.
            “That was when our team really came together,” Jones said. “That was when we started going. They were a tough team, but we just played well. It got our confidence up.”
            Jones followed the Taylorsville game with the best outing of his career. Quarterback Corbin Anderson picked up some confidence, handing off to Jones, Coleman Meier and Anthony Schoenfeld. Meier’s 26-yard run started it all and Oly rolled to a 26-6 win.
            Jones finished 210 yards and also had a couple of sacks on defense. It was the start of four wins in five region game for the Titans, which gave them a share of the region title. A 27-9 home victory against Skyline clinched it.
                “Skyline was all-around our best game just because of the stage we were on,” recalled Jones, who led Titan rushers with 116 yards on 22 carries. “We really battled. Every sport we play Skyline in it’s always that much more important because of the rivalry.
            “It was especially sweet for us to win because it meant that senior class at Skyline had never had at ‘The Rock’ before.”
            The victory was Oly’s fourth straight over its rival, and the Titans got to keep the “trophy” which is always housed at the school that won the game.
            “It was a great year,” Jones said. “I had a lot of fun doing it.”
            Coming in, Jones didn’t know what to expect. With all three starters being running backs, the backfield was a key point. Jones said he was asked to mostly run between the tackles, while Meier and Schoenfeld used their speed to go wide.
            “It worked out well,” he said. “We’d block for each other and, when opponents keyed on me, they could get loose. When they keyed on them, I would have good games.”
            That teamwork built the camaraderie between them. Jones finished the year with a team-high 785 rushing yards, while Meier and Schoenfeld combined for about the same amount. Together, they easily outrushed last year’s squad. In fact, the 1,955 yards gained this season was the most in at least five years.
            “Anthony Schoenfeld was a hard worker and one of the biggest leaders of the team,” Jones said. “He and Coleman Meier made me know that I would always have to work hard and I knew I would be counted on to get get the toughest yards.”
            Jones said the defense also had players it could count on. While playing on the defensive side, he learned who else he could count on.
            “Our defensive coach – Coach (Brandon) Burt – was really observant. He’s a great coach and knew the right things to call. Tanner Goates has a high football IQ and he knew everything that was going on. We were young, but had a lot of speed. A lot of teams couldn’t match up.”
            Jones said it was a thrill to play football at Olympus and hoped to continue playing after he served an LDS Church mission.

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I am the author of Matchup, which provides yearbooks to high school sports teams, commemorating their seasons.