CEDARVILLE — Kevan Jones has been around a bit.
But he knows where he’s going next.
The Cedarville football player and all-conference thrower is heading to Northeast Oklahoma State in Tahlequah, Okla., to continue his football career.
“I had a couple of options, but I wanted to be close to home and to my girlfriend,” said Jones.
Jones played a big role (he’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 305 lbs.) for the Pirates finishing 6-4 overall and 3-4 in conference play. The squad missed the playoffs as three other teams finished 4-3 in the league.
“Football-wise he’s very athletic and explosive for how big he is,” said assistant and offensive line coach Jarrod Remer. “He has very good footwork which allows him to be able to block fast linebackers on certain plays. He’s a very tough, physical player. When he would pull on our sweep you would see bodies flying on film. We put him on nose for defense. Depending on who we were playing, we had him drive their center into the backfield.”
However, it’s the throwing events he’s missing out on this Spring. Last season, Jones was recognized as the men’s track athlete of the year in the River Valley Prep event after having a great season and winning the 3A State title in the shot put.
“He had a good junior year for us,” Remer said. “His shot put kept getting better each meet and it culminated with him winning the state on his final throw of the meet.”
Jones isn’t completely done with school and still has a few classes to wrap up to finish out his year. He grew up in Fort Smith and has moved around including Alma.
He got involved with track and field his freshman year.
“They were like, ‘hey, you’re pretty big, throw for me.’ It got me out of school,” said Jones. “I won shot put at the first meet and won first at conference and from there I went to discus. With track and field, you can’t blame anyone else. It’s a self-competition. Football helped, pushed me to be better, and to work with my teammates.
“But track and field… I got to go across the state and have conversations with other athletes. It gets really competitive because we get to know each other.”
Jones was looking forward to the rest of the track season including going up against the other throwers.
“I really enjoyed competing at Green Forest. Mostly because of the competition and meeting different players from other parts of the state,” Jones said. “I really wanted to face the guy who won at the indoor track meet. He was probably one of the better ones. I don’t see him as a rival, but a fellow competitor. I just wanted to compete against him again.
“I definitely thought we had a good team this season. It’s just a bunch of individuals pouring their heart into it and we are a family unit.”
Jones received some early help from former Alma standout Zacary Henson.
“He’s my best friend and he pushed me into football,” Jones said. “We have those drills where we face each other in practice and one day I was able to put him on his butt. He was a thrower too and he helped me out at track.”
With the shutdown Jones has kept himself occupied, but like his classmates and competitors across the state, he would trade it quickly for a chance to be among his friends and back outside practicing or at a meet.
“Track is a lot like football in some ways, you have to do better the second time if you make a mistake,” said Jones. “But it only takes one throw to make the difference. Don’t give up and don’t get down on yourself. Things are always going to be better down the road.
FUN QUESTIONS WITH KEVAN JONES
What is your biggest fear? Anything more than eight legs. I will go across the yard to get away from it, I don’t care.
If you could have any superpower what would it be? Super strength
If you could have any kind of pet what would you want? Always wanted a Great Dane.
What would you be rather doing instead of being quarantined at home? Rather be at the gym working out with my buddies.
Biggest pet peeve? I can’t stand when things are out of place.
Do you have any annoying habits? Other than I pop my jaw a lot.
Who is your inspiration? My dad.
What is the first thing you’ll do when this crisis or mess is all over? Take my girlfriend out for a nice dinner
Because there is free time… have you gotten caught up on any television shows or reading? Not much