Strong safety leads defense after ACL injury
Anger has driven Robert E. Lee’s Joseph Jones since last summer.
That’s because the senior strong safety suffered an ACL injury in the team’s 2018 season caused when trying to stop a reverse during a 55-6 win over Houston Westbury.
Jones planted, felt his knee buckle and downed on a non-contact injury.
“I have been working hard all off-season because I have something to prove,” Jones said. “I was training my leg every day with a lot of one-legged squats and presses. I had to start eating a lot more because I was starting to lose weight.”
Jones and the Ganders open the football season at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 at Westbury and a chance for him to finish a game with the opponent he last played.
Jones was cleared to come back in April after surgery and rehab and the work since then has paid off with head coach Tim Finn seeing him as one of the keys to the Ganders secondary.
“Physically, he was a late bloomer and he was small and weighed about 110 pounds soaking wet,” Finn said. “In his junior year, he had a great growth spurt and he was always a smart kid. Then, when he worked really hard and built himself up to be a varsity football player, he gets hurt.
“He’s the quarterback for the defense back there. That’s what he was last year, and it hurt us big time. He’s a deep player, but he also has to come up and make tackles against the running game. He will be a big piece of the puzzle.”
Jones admits that he has some insecurities heading into the campaign, but he also acknowledges that it is process to get back to where he believes he should be.
“My leg strength and my speed is coming along, but I still need work,” Jones said. “I need to be more confident in my knee, but my tackling is pretty good. I had to go a whole year without the game. I was mad at myself every day for getting hurt.”
Finn only saw a young man hellbent on getting better.
“He was awesome; he never missed a thing,” Finn said. “Some players disappear or have a bad attitude. That’s why I hope for a great year for him because he’s worked really hard.”
While he rehabbed his knee, Jones believes he discovered his calling.
“I was always in the training room and I started picking up on sports therapy,” Jones said. “I like studying the human body and I caught interest in it working out.”