Multi-talented Jones to Play for Nichols College
Mar 29, 2018 06:00AM ● Published by Kenneth Hamwey
The Jones family: Fred, Josh, Donna and Josh’s brother Philip
Jones was TVL All-star & BHS MVP in FootballBellingham High’s Josh Jones has all the attributes to excel in athletics and academics at the collegiate level. The 6-foot, 240-pound senior has been a captain in three sports, was selected as the football team’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, and has been a Tri Valley League all-star in football, basketball and track. On the academic side, Jones is a National Honor Society student who last fall was chosen for a scholar-athlete award. Jones also has participated in leadership summits and youth violence-prevention programs.
Jones is the total package, and four colleges quickly recognized what an asset he could be on a football field and in a classroom. Bryant, Stonehill, Bridgewater State and Nichols were in the mix, but in the end Nichols is where the two-way lineman will be for the next four years.
Dale Olmsted, the football coach at the Division 3 college in Dudley, was fully aware of Jones’s potential and watched him play at Bellingham since he was a sophomore. Olmsted, who previously coached at Millis High, plans to use Jones as a nose tackle.
“Getting an all-star from the TVL adds value to our roster,” Olmsted said. “His character and his MVP status make him a great addition not only to our football program, but also to the Nichols community. Being a captain in three sports is special. Josh is a great kid and we’re excited to get him.”
Jones is comfortable with his choice. “I chose Nichols for several reasons,” he said. “I want to major in sports management, and Nichols has a strong program. The school’s academic reputation is excellent and the campus is beautiful. I’ve gotten to know coach Olmsted. He sold me on Nichols and I’m looking forward to playing for him.”
At Bellingham, Jones played left guard and defensive tackle, he was the basketball team’s center, and he’s wrapping up his career in outdoor track, throwing the discus and competing in the shot put. “I plan on playing football and track at Nichols,” Jones said.
Dan Haddad, who coached Jones in football at Bellingham, is delighted that his star player received a solid financial-aid package and pleased that Nichols views Jones as a good fit.
“Josh was one of the most feared two-way players on the field,” Haddad said. “He was dependable and reliable, both as a great leader and captain.”
Jones has a multi-faceted style on the gridiron—he’s aggressive but controlled, and he’s capable of quickly assessing an opponent, then attacking his weak spots. “I’d like to think I’ve got a high football IQ,” Jones said. “I rely on hand quickness and leg drive. I prefer defense because I’d rather give a hit than receive one.”
Jones admits that a few aspects of his game must change if he’s to enjoy a smooth transition to the college ranks. “My preparation can improve,” he said. “I can’t take plays off, and I can improve my physical condition and my endurance.”
In basketball, Jones helped BHS end an eight-year tourney drought and get to the quarterfinals of the playoffs this year. He says that was exciting and thrilling, but he also rates football games against Case and Norwood as memorable.
“It was great beating Norwood last fall,” Jones noted. “Our defense was excellent and I had 12 tackles in the 38-20 victory. Three of our TDs went through holes I opened. When we played Case my junior year, Zach Levy gained a state-record 546 yards and scored on seven TDs and three two-point conversions. Five of his TD runs went through my slot. I played that game with the flu, but when Zach started to run wild, I just kept pushing myself.”
Another situation Jones labels as “a thrill” is the relationships that were built in the offensive line. His teammates were Dan Gavin, Jake Bassett, John Keeler and Zach Gabriel. “We really bonded,” Jones emphasized. “We knew each others’ moves and we adapted.”
A captain who leads by example, by being vocal and supportive, Jones hopes to impact the Bison football program. Since Olmsted took the reins, Nichols has improved (6-4 record in 2016) but is aiming for sustained success. “I’ll work hard to help Nichols be a winning team,” Jones said.
A resident of Milford, Jones opted to attend Bellingham High, and he’s glad he’s been influenced by coaches like Haddad, TJ Chiappone (basketball) and Peter Lacasse (track). “Coach Haddad is motivating and encouraging,” Jones said. “Coach Chiappone works so hard and has faith in his players while coach Lacasse knows track and is very flexible.”
Relying on a competitive philosophy of giving 100 percent and enjoying sports, Jones believes those characteristics produce winning results. He also takes away quality life lessons from sports. “Athletics have taught me leadership skills, compassion, time management and how to overcome adversity,” he noted.
Calling his parents (Donna and Fred) role models for their encouragement and work ethic, Jones knows the family name will still be visible at BHS because his younger brother (Philip) will be competing in track and basketball.
“I’m going to miss BHS,” Jones said. “It’s prepared me for academics and athletics. I’m going to miss the routines with classmates, teammates and my family. I’ve been blessed with great teammates and coaches.”
BHS also was blessed to have a student-athlete like Jones. In football, he never complained when the spotlight shined on a quarterback or a running back. “You have to realize that, as a lineman, you’re the driving force behind their success,” he said. “It’s all about perseverance.”
Josh Jones is the total package but he’s also the real deal.