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Living the Dream: ‘I like to catch the ball and help the team win,’ says football MVP Jones


WOLFVILLE - It may have taken Brian Jones a couple of years to leave his mark as an Acadia football receiver, but he certainly made up for lost time last season.

Jones, who grew up in Grand Lake, Halifax County, was recruited to Acadia in 2012 after finishing his high school career at Lockview High.

The 21-year-old will enter his fourth year with the Axemen this fall as the reigning AUFC player of the year after an outstanding 2014 season.

He finished the season first in the conference in receptions (57) and receiving yards (639) and a close second in receiving yards per game (79.9). In the process, he broke the school record of 53 receptions in a season set by Mike Squires in 2012.

A six-foot-four, the 215-pound receiver proved a tough matchup for any defensive back.

 

Team player

Jones started playing peewee football at age 13. He’s always been a receiver, although he “played a little linebacker early in my career when I was still playing both ways.”

On his arrival at Acadia, Jones “dressed in my first year,” but played sparingly.

“I got to play the last 10 minutes of our game at Laval, in front of 15,000 fans, and had my first catch in that game,” he says.

He was looking forward to better things and more playing time in his second year, but he hurt his knee “on a low hit on my second catch of our first game,” and was sidelined for four weeks before returning earlier than expected.

Jones had “set goals” for his time at Acadia.

“In my second year, I wanted to be a top-10 receiver in the conference, which I was able to do,” he said.

“I wanted to be top-five in the conference by my third year, and number one in the conference by my fourth. I ended up a year ahead of schedule.”

Individual stats are one thing, he says, but they don’t mean much if the team doesn’t win.

“My first game (last season), at Mount A, I had 12 catches for 114 yards. Coach told me afterward I had played a good game, but I’d have rather we won.”

 

Passion for the pigskin

Jones says he “loves everything about being a receiver. I like to catch the ball and help the team win. I was happy with last year individually, but the team could have done better.”

Acadia, he points out, “lost a tough one” to St. F.X. in the AUFC semifinal.

Jones is well aware this year, his fourth, is also his draft year.

“My goal is to eventually play pro, in the CFL,” he said.

“I played in the East-West Bowl (CIS all-star game) this past spring. It was awesome, a great experience.”

That game, he said, pitted “all the best players in the country, all looking to make it to the next level. Anytime you get the chance to go up against the country’s best, you’re going to improve as a player.”

This year, he has one goal: “I want us, as a team, to take the next step” and hopefully challenge for a conference title.

Individually, “I’m looking to do at least as well as last year, and hopefully help the team win more games.”

 

Eye on the prize

The football Axemen were busy with training camp last week.

“The team js looking good,” Jones said. “Everybody is starting to fit into their spots. We’re a veteran team now, with a lot of valuable chemistry.”

Acadia will be relatively inexperienced at quarterback, with six different players vying for the number one position. Jones has no preference as to who he would like to see start, as long as he is effective at the position.

“Guys have been stepping up,” he said. “I have faith in the coaches choosing the right guy. It may end up being a couple of people (splitting the starting job). Some of the young guys are playing well. It depends on who has the hot hand.”

Last year, Acadia went through four quarterbacks due to a rash of injuries.

“It was a different kind of year,” Jones said. “I’m looking for more stability this season. I can’t see having that kind of luck again.”

The Axemen also have a couple of new-to-Acadia receivers. 

“It’s always hard to say with rookies, new to a program. They’re older rookies, but they’re still rookies.”

Jones is looking for good things from the Axemen this season.

“The defence always comes along quicker than the offence, because it gets a head start,” he said, but he’s pleased with how the offence is developing as well.

“We had a goalline drill the other day that was the best I’ve seen in four years.”

Jones, who grew up in Grand Lake, Halifax County, was recruited to Acadia in 2012 after finishing his high school career at Lockview High.

The 21-year-old will enter his fourth year with the Axemen this fall as the reigning AUFC player of the year after an outstanding 2014 season.

He finished the season first in the conference in receptions (57) and receiving yards (639) and a close second in receiving yards per game (79.9). In the process, he broke the school record of 53 receptions in a season set by Mike Squires in 2012.

A six-foot-four, the 215-pound receiver proved a tough matchup for any defensive back.

 

Team player

Jones started playing peewee football at age 13. He’s always been a receiver, although he “played a little linebacker early in my career when I was still playing both ways.”

On his arrival at Acadia, Jones “dressed in my first year,” but played sparingly.

“I got to play the last 10 minutes of our game at Laval, in front of 15,000 fans, and had my first catch in that game,” he says.

He was looking forward to better things and more playing time in his second year, but he hurt his knee “on a low hit on my second catch of our first game,” and was sidelined for four weeks before returning earlier than expected.

Jones had “set goals” for his time at Acadia.

“In my second year, I wanted to be a top-10 receiver in the conference, which I was able to do,” he said.

“I wanted to be top-five in the conference by my third year, and number one in the conference by my fourth. I ended up a year ahead of schedule.”

Individual stats are one thing, he says, but they don’t mean much if the team doesn’t win.

“My first game (last season), at Mount A, I had 12 catches for 114 yards. Coach told me afterward I had played a good game, but I’d have rather we won.”

 

Passion for the pigskin

Jones says he “loves everything about being a receiver. I like to catch the ball and help the team win. I was happy with last year individually, but the team could have done better.”

Acadia, he points out, “lost a tough one” to St. F.X. in the AUFC semifinal.

Jones is well aware this year, his fourth, is also his draft year.

“My goal is to eventually play pro, in the CFL,” he said.

“I played in the East-West Bowl (CIS all-star game) this past spring. It was awesome, a great experience.”

That game, he said, pitted “all the best players in the country, all looking to make it to the next level. Anytime you get the chance to go up against the country’s best, you’re going to improve as a player.”

This year, he has one goal: “I want us, as a team, to take the next step” and hopefully challenge for a conference title.

Individually, “I’m looking to do at least as well as last year, and hopefully help the team win more games.”

 

Eye on the prize

The football Axemen were busy with training camp last week.

“The team js looking good,” Jones said. “Everybody is starting to fit into their spots. We’re a veteran team now, with a lot of valuable chemistry.”

Acadia will be relatively inexperienced at quarterback, with six different players vying for the number one position. Jones has no preference as to who he would like to see start, as long as he is effective at the position.

“Guys have been stepping up,” he said. “I have faith in the coaches choosing the right guy. It may end up being a couple of people (splitting the starting job). Some of the young guys are playing well. It depends on who has the hot hand.”

Last year, Acadia went through four quarterbacks due to a rash of injuries.

“It was a different kind of year,” Jones said. “I’m looking for more stability this season. I can’t see having that kind of luck again.”

The Axemen also have a couple of new-to-Acadia receivers. 

“It’s always hard to say with rookies, new to a program. They’re older rookies, but they’re still rookies.”

Jones is looking for good things from the Axemen this season.

“The defence always comes along quicker than the offence, because it gets a head start,” he said, but he’s pleased with how the offence is developing as well.

“We had a goalline drill the other day that was the best I’ve seen in four years.”

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