Football roots run deep with Panhandle QB Jones
The Panhandle Panthers have a new starting quarterback taking the reigns for the 2019 football season.
Head coach Dane Ashley’s high-powered offensive attack will be lead by junior Wesley Jones.
Jones assumes the starting role following the departure of District 1-2A MVP Braden Durst to graduation.
It seems that taking over the starting spot is difficult for most 16-year olds, however, Jones claims the help of his teammates has eased the transition.
“Our offensive line really takes the pressure away,” Jones said. “Having guys like Houston Heck in the backfield and our strong receiving core make it easier on me.”
With a veteran savvy playmaker like Durst running the show the past two years, Jones couldn’t help but learn a thing or two from the dual-threat quarterback.
“The biggest thing Durst taught me was how to be tough,” Jones said. “He ran the ball hard and knew when to put his shoulder down and make a play.”
Jones, who is more of a passing threat than his predecessor, happily accepted the starting role saying, “it feels great to be the guy.”
Jones has the tools to be successful, which isn’t surprising by tracing his Texas Panhandle roots.
Two-time state champion Stratford coach Eddie Metcalf is the uncle to the up and coming Panhandle QB.
Metcalf has always been there for Jones, offering both caring and critical comments about his future.
“When Wesley’s around I try to keep him in his place,” said Metcalf, who was 115-31 from 2004-2015 as Stratford’s head coach. “But when you’re the quarterback you have to have a little of that confidence. He’s talented. I just want him to be his best.”
According to Jones, joining the family legacy is something he‘s always looked forward to.
“At family gatherings I always saw my uncle with his [state championship] rings on,” Jones said. “I’ve always wanted to live up to that and make my family proud.”
The Metcalf ties in Panhandle don’t stop at family--the retired Stratford coach has a pupil leading the Panthers since the 2015 football season. Coach Ashley played offensive and defensive line when Metcalf was an assistant for the Elks under Brad Thiessen in 1997 and 1998.
“I coach a lot like coach Metcalf,” Ashley said. “He coached you hard, he pushed you hard, and he expected the best you had. He was loud when it was good and loud when it was bad. My coaching style directly reflects my time under Eddie Metcalf.”
Ashley says he can only hope that he “has the same positive influence on Jones as a coach and mentor that Metcalf had on him growing up.”
“The most influential people in my life were my coaches,” Ashley said. “Those guys shaped my life, and it feels good to make an impact. As long as [Jones] comes back 15 years from now and is successful because of the morals the program instilled in him, that’s the biggest deal to me.”
The Panthers open the season when they take on the Tulia Hornets at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at Panthers Stadium.