By Bradley Davis
FLOWOOD, Mississippi (WAPT) — Hartfield Academy’s hard-hitting linebacker Chris Jones experienced an impact Friday morning he says he’s lucky to walk away from.
“I remember losing control. I started to spin, and then I closed my eyes. All of a sudden, I was rolling,” Jones said. “In my head, I was just like, ‘There’s no way it’s happening.’ I didn’t know if I could have died. Spinning a car two times, too many people don’t come out of that.”
Miraculously, Jones left his beaten car with no more than a scratch.
“The first thing I thought about when I got out the car, I can tell you that, was just if I could play tonight. I ran and knocked on someone’s door, and they opened the door. And they said they heard everything, and I was just crying to them, just saying, ‘I hope I can play tonight.’ He asked me what school I went to. I was just telling them, ‘It’s the game of the week.'”
It may seem strange that football would be the first thing on someone’s mind after going through what Chris Jones did. To Jones, it is just how he lives life.
“Football is a game of life. My dad taught me when you fall, you get back up. Even through tragedies like that car accident, anything we fail, you’ve got to get back up in life,” Jones said.
That’s exactly what he did. Jones suited up for Friday night’s district showdown with MRA — a game he had been looking forward to for a long time.
“This is the biggest game I feel like I’ve ever played,” Jones said Thursday afternoon before his car accident. “I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve been thinking about it since Monday. Actually, since Sunday.”
On Hartfield’s first offensive drive, head coach Craig Bowman put the linebacker into the game as a running back.
After ripping off a couple of big gains, Jones muscled his way into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game less than 12 hours after facing death on the roadway.
“I felt pumped. At the time, I was probably thinking thinking, ‘That’s just crazy. You just got in a car accident, and you scored the first touchdown in the game, broke a couple of runs.’ People don’t see that,” Jones said. “That was a real big play. The first touchdown set the tone of the whole game.”
He set the tone for a game he wouldn’t be able to finish.
Another twist of fate. A twisted knee in the second quarter that would knock him out of the contest.
“I wasn’t really mad about the injury. I couldn’t really be. I just got in a car accident (that) I could have died in. I couldn’t really be mad about an injury that happened in a football game,” Jones said.
The rest of Friday night played out like a blockbuster hit for Hartfield.
A crazy back-and-forth showdown ended in a 63-56 final score sealed by a game-winning interception by sophomore standout safety Bralan Womack with Jones watching on the sidelines.
“It felt like a movie the whole day. When I saw Womack make the pick, it looked like slow motion. In the morning, I get in an accident. The accident feels slow-motion,” Jones said.
Car crashes and football; balancing on the knife’s edge of winning or losing. Life or death. The scales are always tipping one way or another.
Jones says he knows who put the finger on his scale, and it has changed the way he looks at life.
“It kind of woke me up as a person, as a Christian,” Jones said. “God is real. That’s what I got out of that, and that’s what is it says about me as a person. I’m gonna believe in God, and I know God can get me through anything.”
The next thing for Jones to get through is his knee injury, and he says he’ll be ready to get back up as soon as he can.
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