All Area high school teams announced in football
Intuitive Jones leads Scots to a successful defense of state title
Highland Park’s John Stephen Jones and Mansfield Legacy’s Jalen Catalon lead the lineups as the SportsDay 2017 All Area football teams are announced.
About four and a half years ago, Highland Park coach Randy Allen came home from watching a middle school football game and turned to his wife.
He told her that there was this eighth-grader who just had “it,” and that she needed to watch him play. So the two went out and watched a young John Stephen Jones sling the ball around.
“He just had a way of distributing the ball, getting rid of the ball, finding the open receiver,” Allen said.
Over the last two years, the state saw what Allen saw those years ago. Jones helped Highland Park to back-to-back state championships for the first time the school’s storied history, earning the title game’s offensive MVP award both seasons.
But this season Jones took his game to a new level, completing more than 70 percent of passes for 4,911 yards and 61 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions.
Consistently, Jones escaped rushers, bought time and found a receiver just before being hit.
“It’s like a sixth sense,” Allen said. “He’s the best I’ve ever seen at getting away from the rush and bailing out of there and finding somebody open.”
Jones said it’s just a matter of playing a lot of football. The son of Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has been around the game since he’s been born.
“You kind of feel your way around the pocket and you know your guys around you, and when a guy is coming you can kind of feel it,” Jones said.
The 5-11, 190-pound quarterback has scholarship offers from Arkansas, SMU and Texas Tech but is still undecided.
“I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me,” Jones said.
Wherever he goes, his legacy at Highland
Park is secure.
Highland Park quarterback John Stephen Jones is the SportsDay 2017 All-Area Football Offensive Player of the Year. He threw 61 touchdown passes and led Highland Park to a second consecutive state title.