Kenan Jones, a rising freshman at Shoals Christian School, remains hospitalized in Birmingham after collapsing during football workouts Tuesday morning and going into cardiac arrest.
“I went yesterday down to see him. He’s doing better,” Shoals Christian football coach Kelly Rushing said.
Rushing said he doesn’t know when Jones, 14, will be able to come home but understands that some more tests still need to be run, and he expects Jones to remain at the hospital at least this coming week.
Rushing said Jones has made progress in some areas but is still working to regain his motor skills and has had some short-term memory loss. When he brought Jones’ cell phone with him to Birmingham, however, he noticed Jones remembered the pass code to it.
The football team began lifting weights around 9 a.m. Tuesday. Rushing estimated the team began running around 9:45 a.m. and Jones collapsed before 10 a.m.
“We had run four 40s. I had moved the cone from 40 to 30 yards. He ran one 30 and collapsed,” Rushing said. “I thought he was having a seizure.”
Rushing tried to keep Jones still and did compressions to try to help Jones breathe properly. He estimated paramedics arrived in about 10 minutes and took Jones to the North Alabama Medical Center in Florence.
From there Jones was airlifted to Huntsville Hospital and later Tuesday airlifted again to Children’s of Birmingham, where he is now.
Rushing does not know why Jones would have collapsed during the workout, which had started within an hour of the incident on a 77-degree day.
“It wasn’t heat-related,” Rushing said.
Rushing said it was one of the top three worst days of his life. The team suspended workouts for the rest of the week. The team met one day this week to install the new lockers and before installing them the group said a prayer for Jones.
Rushing noted the doctors are still trying to figure out why Jones collapsed.
“It’s just going to be a process,” Rushing said.
If you’d like to help the family with its medical expenses, you may go to www.GoFundMe.com, click “Search” on the upper left corner of the home page, type in “Kenan Jones” and then select “Kenan Jones Medical Expenses.”
Phil Campbell has new hoops coach
Shane Clay attended attended Northwest Shoals C.C. from 1996-98 and his wife Corrie is a Phil Campbell graduate.
So even though Clay went to Hayden High, he and his wife Corrie both feel like they’re coming home as he takes the Phil Campbell boys basketball job. The hire became official May 28.
Clay has previously served as the middle school basketball coach at Hewitt-Trussville, and this will be his first varsity head coaching job. He said once the school approached him about the job opening “the pieces just kept going together.”
While the Phil Campbell girls basketball program has been successful in recent years, the boys program has struggled. But Clay said there was absolutely no hesitation about taking over a program that needed work.
Clay said Jordan Benford will coach the freshman team and he’s still looking for a middle school coach.
Clay said his first priority is developing a positive team culture built on kids who love the game, play with high energy, are coachable and work well together.
“Our first practice was Wednesday and Thursday and I really liked the kids that were there,” Clay said. “Really liked the first two days of practice. Very coachable. They’re eager to learn.
“ … I think they’re kids that love the game of basketball, and that’s what we want.”
Clay said he wants the team to play up-tempo offensively and use a man defense that incorporates traps when necessary. He said game-by-game improvement throughout the year would be key for a successful first season.
“We’re trying to get the excitement into boys basketball,” he said.
Coffee grad portrayed in movie dies
Bill Yoast, a Florence native who was portrayed in the 2000 film Remember the Titans, died in late May. He was 94.
Yoast was born Nov. 16, 1924, according to a story about him in the Washington Post. He attended Coffee High School and then the Air Force Academy.
He coached an all-white team at Hammond High School and served as an assistant under Herman Boone at the consolidated T.C. Williams High starting in 1971. Remember the Titans chronicles the racial tension and eventual cohesion of the consolidated team on its way to the 1971 state championship. Will Patton played Yoast in the movie, with Denzel Washington playing Boone.
Madie Krieger gets UNA offer
Rogers guard Madie Krieger received a scholarship offer from North Alabama, according to a Twitter post Monday by the All-Alabama Roadrunners AAU girls basketball team.
Krieger, who is 5-6 and will be a sophomore this fall, led Rogers to the 2019 Class 4A state championship. She was the team’s leading scorer and finished as a finalist for the Class 4A player of the year award.
Two from Lexington sign
A pair of Lexington High seniors have signed this spring to play baseball in college.
Tyler Cruse will play at Lawson State Community College, and Brandon Morris will play at NAIA Blue Mountain (Miss.).
Cruse will play alongside brother Todd Cruse, who transferred to Lawson State and has one year of junior college baseball left.
Tyler Cruse pitched 35 2/3 innings this year for Lexington and had 62 strikeouts and a 3.72 ERA. He also batted .438. He throws a two-seam fastball, four-seam fastball, curveball and changeup. He likes his two-seam, which is currently about 85 or 86 miles per hour.
A couple years ago his father got him a screen to throw into with nine squares drawn on it so Cruse can pick out a spot and try to hit it, the way pitchers do with catchers when practicing command.
“I feel like my control, I know it’s not great, but it’s better than it has been,” he said.
Cruse said he’s a little nervous about going away to school but “part of me’s just ready to get down there and get to work.”
Morris, meanwhile, played mostly right field or pitched for Lexington in 2019, and his best pitch might be his curveball. He’s unsure if he’ll pitch or be a position player in college.
“I’m basically that guy that says I’ll play wherever you need me to play,” he said.
Morris said he thinks Blue Mountain is where God wants him to be and “a good place to be a leader.”
Cruse said he has not decided on a major. Morris would like to study education and might like to teach government and economics, and he said Lexington teachers/coaches Jason Lard and Michael Cole “are just great teachers and really inspired me.”
Both said Lexington has been a great place for them.
“It’s been a blessing. Everybody loves everybody. … It’s a great school to go to,” Morris said.