It’s not been a typical season for Saks High School football, but wide receiver Leonta Jones keeps perspective on it.
Injuries can’t be helped, and a young team needs leaders. Jones, a 6-foot-3, 193-pound wide receiver has tried to be that as the Wildcats (2-4) have fought through it all.
Saks has lost five players for the season, including starting quarterback Roilan Torres. Sophomore Shawn Parnell, who would’ve been the No. 3 this season, but for Daveon Dukes’ transfer to Anniston, just reaggravated a shoulder injury and looks to be limited Friday against Weaver.
Jones and the Wildcats still have a chance to finish with a winning season. They’d have win out against Weaver, Randolph County and Glencoe.
At 1-3 in 3A, Region 6, they’d also need help to make the playoffs. Saks last missed the playoffs in 2010 and has made it 11 of the past 12 years.
Jones keeps the faith. Among other things, he rests hope on his lucky pair of purple underwear, which he said he’s worn every game this season.
He also hopes to play football beyond high school, and he has leads on that. With a 21 on the ACT, he also looks to a career in law enforcement.
He took a few minutes to talk to Star Sports Writer Joe Medley for the weekly 10 questions feature:
Question: What’s your take on the season?
Answer: We’re a little inexperienced right now. It’s just good learning and playing, for all of the young guys. It’s my senior year, you know, and I’m just making the best out of it. Just going out and playing as hard as I can every Friday night, and just giving my all to my guys, and just hoping the younger guys get better. Then I’ll go off to college and, hopefully, play at the next level.
Q: What about recruiting?
A: There’s nothing big. There’s NAIA, like, Kentucky Christian and the University of North Alabama. That’s pretty much it, right now. I’m not settled on a choice right now. I just want to let it come to me, be patient and, hopefully, the best will happen.
Q: You played on a running-oriented team last year, and two guys who could’ve thrown you the ball this season are either injured or playing elsewhere. How tough has that been?
A: It kind of hurt. When Roilan went out, it was kind of demoralizing, because it was senior year, also. He hasn’t played since his junior year, and I kind of felt bad for him. It’s crazy, but Shawn stepped up, and then he went out, and it’s just like, not our year, I guess.
Q: What do you think can happen down the stretch?
A: We can win the games. We just have to go out and play hard. Sometimes, when things don’t go our way, we tend to lay down and just give up. We’ve been trying to coach the young guys and tell them, we can’t lay down. Keep fighting. You never know what’s going to happen.
Q: What celebrity’s autograph would you like to have?
A: Odell Beckham and Julio Jones. Those are my role models. Before games, I watch their highlights. I try to mimic what they do on the field. They’re my favorite players.
Q: No matter how old you get, what’s something you don’t think you’ll ever grow out of?
A: My mom, just being a momma’s boy. I love my mom. No matter what age, I’ll always go hug my mom and lay up under her.
Q: Do you have any superstitions, anything that you just have to do?
A: I believe in lucky underwear. I have a pair of lucky underwear I wear on Fridays. It’s just specific underwear. I’ve been wearing them all season. I feel luckier when I wear them. They’re purple.
Q: How did that start?
A: It was, kind of like, every time I wore them, something good happened to me, and I thought it would carry over into football season. I wore them in football season, and this is my best season. I think it’s because of the underwear. I got my first touchdown catch, my first receiving catch, actually, of my career against Alabama Christian. It was, like, 59, 60 yards. It was a juke. It’s the first highlight on my Hudl.
Q: What’s something about you that few people know?
A: I’m a nerd. I’m into anime and, what would you call those TV shows with ghosts, and stuff? Like Ghostbusters? Paranormal. My favorite show is probably Dragon Ball Z. It’s anime.
Q: Is there a story behind your wearing jersey No. 4?
A: My cousins attended Weaver. One of them was No. 1 (Timothy Hawkins), and the other cousin (Quinata Jones) was No. 30. They told me to just make my own legacy, because I wanted to be No. 4, and 4 just appealed to me.