Sept. 15, 2004 - The careers of two coaches named Jones will come full circle and once again cross paths Sept. 17 when Red Mountain High School travels to Mountain View for a gridiron show down of two of the state's better teams.
It was 16 years ago when Wayne Jones took the sidelines of Mountain View as head coach in the school's first ever football game Sept. 9, 1988. His opponent that night was another coach, and namesake, making the inaugural debut for his school, Red Mountain. Jim Jones' Mountain Lion squad got the best of Wayne Jones that evening, beating his Mountain Lions by a score of 28-7.
"Their juniors were a little better than ours," said Wayne Jones of the initial battle between the schools. Jones exacted his revenge in the team's rematch 15 years later when Mountain View beat Red Mountain in Phoenix last season.
"We (Red Mountain) beat them the first time out," said Jim Jones, "but they won the important one last year."
Both coaches have enjoyed success in the 15 years that separated the school's meetings on the football field. With a win last week over Mountain Pointe, Jim Jones eclipsed the 100 win mark for his career, to go along with 74 losses and three ties. During that time Red Mountain became just the second public school in the Mesa School District to win back-to-back state titles, a feat Jones accomplished in 2000 and 2001.
Wayne Jones has had similar success winning 115 times in 167 career games at Mountain View. His Mountain Lions grabbed the 5A Region state championship in 1993.
Both teams will put their perfect 2-0 records on the line when they square off against each other Sept. 17.
"It's like looking down a loaded barrel," said Wayne Jones of the amount of players Red Mountain traditionally has on its squad. "You know it will never be a blow out."
Neither Red Mountain nor Mountain View will return many starters to the field for this year's game. The two squads are full of players with high school experience and talent, just not on the varsity level, both coaches said.
Mountain View will look to play a strategic game based on field position and the leg strength of senior punter Pat Johnson, said Wayne Jones. Leading the Mountain View attack at quarterback will be senior Casey Ramsey who assumes the daunting role of filling the shoes left by graduated QB Eddie Arizmendi who took the Mountain Lions to a 10-2 record in his senior year.
Ramsey may not possess the experience or arm strength of Arizmendi, said Jones, but the coach likes the improvement he sees in his six-foot-four, 180-pound quarterback from game to game. The quarterback's success may very well hinge on the ability of Mountain View's young offensive line to contain Red Mountain's pass rush.
On defense, the key to shutting down Jim Jones' Mountain Lions will be how well they can contain Red Mountain's Channing Trotter, who in two games since transferring to the Mesa School has torched opponents with his speed. Against Mountain Pointe, Trotter amassed 220 yards on 25 rushing attempts, including a 71-yard touchdown run. The week before he returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown.
"We can open it up a little more," said Jim Jones of the option Trotter provides his team.
The biggest concern of Jim Jones is the toll that traveling roughly 100 miles to the game will take on his squad, both physically and mentally.
"Our kids aren't used to traveling down there," said Jones. "It could turn out to be a nightmare for us."