Players of the Pine Belt: West Jones senior linebacker Rase Jones

Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 11:28 PM CDT
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SOSO, Miss. (WDAM) - Rase Jones said most every kid growing up in Soso wants to play West Jones football.

He gets to live out the dream for one more year.

“Saturdays is when you feel it most,” Jones said. “Fridays it’s fun, Saturday you feel it.”

Jones gets his fill on Friday nights playing linebacker. He played a little wildcat quarterback last season, but Jones prefers stopping the ball on defense. “I like that I kind of get to control, I get to call out plays to everybody,” Jones said. “You’re kinda in the middle of everything at linebacker. You’re helping with a little bit of everything.”

“He’s a football player, and that’s one thing I’ve asked the guys,” said West Jones first-year head coach Cory Reynolds. “I don’t need you to be an offensive player or a defensive player. I need you to be a football player to help us win football games, and that’s what he is. He’s a smart kid. He’s always asking questions, always wanting to know things he can do to get better and to make guys around him better.”

There’s one skill Jones is learning more as a senior – leadership.

He knows it’s up to him to set the tone, starting in summer workouts.

“You gotta work hard and they’ll see that and they’ll work hard,” Jones said. “Strength is a lot, especially for the younger guys coming up. You gotta realize these guys that are two years older than you you’re playing against. You gotta get in that weight room, gotta get as strong as them.”

“I’ve really enjoyed watching the older guys helping bring the younger guys along,” Reynolds said. “And that’s when you have a good championship-type culture and program – when it’s a player-driven team instead of a coach-driven team.”

The pride for Mustangs football is what first stood out to Reynolds when in April he took over for the West Jones coach of 21 years Scott Pierson.

“The kids in the community expect to win,” Reynolds said. “They expect to work hard, they expect certain outcomes on Friday nights. And that’s something that I really have not had to even talk about. The kids when we show up for workouts, they show up early. They stay a little bit late, get extra work in. They know what’s expected of ‘em. Their parents played here, their aunts and uncles played here. They know what a championship program looks like.”

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