Colerain football coach Tom Bolden remembers the moment he knew Deshaunte Jones would be the Cardinals’ quarterback.
Bolden watched Jones play a wingback/slot position in eighth grade at Colerain Middle School and came away very impressed.
When that winter arrived and Jones was the point guard on the basketball team, Bolden told him he would one day be the Colerain High School quarterback.
A lot has transpired since that day.
Jones has dealt with obvious challenges on the field – learning the quarterback position and Colerain triple-option offensive system starting the first game of his junior season.
Colerain started a rare 0-3 in 2014, but rebounded late in the season and won a playoff game.
The difference is night and day from a year ago, Bolden says. Jones is incredibly athletic and plays within the system – a potent combination.
While fans and media watch the jaw-dropping cuts and nifty moves of the senior quarterback this fall, what is most impressive about Jones may be his character, Bolden says.
Jones lost his father, Marvin Jones, during the standout’s freshman season in 2012. Jones and his brother, junior safety Keontae Jones never forget their late father.
Before nearly every game, Keontae Jones writes Sept. 4, 2012 on his hand to remember. Keontae says a prayer after each game.
“I wish he was at the games now,” Deshaunte Jones said. “I couldn’t imagine how proud he would be of me and my brother. It’s just a great feeling to know he’s looking down on us and seeing us play really well.”
Both brothers have performed very well as Colerain (12-1) prepares for Huber Heights Wayne (13-0) in a Division I state semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday in Mason.
Keontae Jones is the team’s fourth-leading tackler (77 tackles) and is second on the team with four interceptions. He already has offers from UC, Illinois and Miami University.
Deshaunte, who has offers from UC, Wisconsin, Louisville and others, has been a significant storyline all this postseason in Southwest Ohio. He’s rushed for 1,786 yards and 28 touchdowns and thrown for 639 yards and seven touchdowns through 13 games.
St. Xavier coach Steve Specht said Deshaunte Jones is quite possibly the best player in Ohio.
Huber Heights Wayne coach Jay Minton asked a reporter this week if he know how to stop or slow down Jones.
College programs are salivating.
“I see him as a playmaker,” Bolden said. “A guy in the slot. A guy like a Shaq Washington at UC. A guy like Jalin Marshall at Ohio State. He’s that type of player.”
But, the 5-foot-10 and 170-pound quarterback isn’t letting the accolades affect his performance on the field.
He’s limited his social media to once or twice daily – 10 minutes tops. He says it often gets boring for him.
“Nowadays there is Twitter, Facebook and Instagram,” Deshaunte Jones said. “If you really want to, you have to be locked in and keep your focus.”
Deshaunte Jones, 18, is only interested in getting the Cardinals to Columbus.
“He’s so humble and he’s so quiet,” Bolden said. “That’s what I tell people. As great of a football player he is – he’s even that much better of a kid.”
Colerain had 1,036 yards of total offense the past two weeks in games that included Elder and St. Xavier. Of those totals 1,011 were rushing yards.
The Cardinals are doing everything they can to add another chapter to the storied Colerain tradition this year.
“It’s very special,” Deshaunte Jones said. “This is the fifth time ever we have been in the final four. That’s a great feeling for our team. It’s just a good feeling for our school too.”
Bolden is so confident in Deshaunte Jones that there is a level of trust which has proved to be rock solid throughout the past 13 weeks. Deshaunte studies film during his fifth bell each day with Bolden. The two also discuss life.
“I have found out that as we have progressed during the season there are times when I will go to tell him something and as I start to say it he will be able to finish it,” Bolden said. “He will know what I am exactly thinking.”
Keontae Jones, 16, has a similar personality to his elder brother. But, it’s Keontae who looks up to Deshaunte on the field.
Even if Keontae jokes he could make the same cuts and nifty moves as Deshaunte – and maybe a little better.
“I’m really super proud of him,” Keontae Jones said. “He’s doing big things. He’s going to be in college next year. He will probably be (playing as a) true freshman. Hopefully he will make it onto the NFL or something. He’s really special.”
The brothers’ close bond is evident in and away from games and practice too, Keontae said.
“At home we can chill with each other like we can talk to each other about anything – like school or girls or something,” said Keontae Jones. We have a really close relationship to be honest with you.”
On Sept. 25 against visiting Middletown, Keontae caught his first touchdown reception of the season from none other than Deshaunte.
A reporter from WeAreColerain.com asked in the postgame which was more impressive – the pass or the catch?
Definitely the pass, Deshaunte said. Although video replay showed Keontae had to wait on the ball for his 29-yard touchdown reception.
Keontae made a futile attempt to interrupt during the interview. Then both smiled. The two brothers have always been close.
The brothers have also enjoyed a significant rapport with “Coach B” who has been a father figure of sorts to the brothers on and off the field.
In late October, Deshaunte Jones took to Instagram to post a photo of the coach and quarterback. And express his gratitude.
More than a month later, the same message rings true.
“I would like to thank this man and everything he has done for me in the past couple years,” Deshaunte Jones wrote. “He has impacted my life in many ways and has been a father figure to me. Thanks for all the memories and we aren’t done yet!”
I would like to thank this man and everything he has done for me in the past couple years. He has… https://t.co/bRhDMD902E
— Deshaunte Jones (@DJoness3_) October 21, 2015