Danny Jones is the epitome of a survivor.
The Granbury Pirate assistant coach is celebrating his 25th season as part of the program. That’s a challenge for some assistants who have had the SAME head coach for all those years.
But Jones is now working with his eighth head coach since returning to his alma mater in 1988 after graduating from Tarleton State University.
Often, when a new head coach comes in, he brings in his own crew of assistants. And for the most part, Scotty Pugh did that when he arrived six years ago, but he saw something in Jones that made him want to keep him onboard.
“He’s the true definition of an assistant coach, willing to do anything and everything for the program,” said Pugh. “He’ll do the jobs no one else wants to do.”
The ever-humble Jones refused to be interviewed, but Pugh was certainly not lacking praise.
“He’s just a worker, a jack of all trades – and I’m telling ya, he can fix anything,” said Pugh.
“He was a carpenter before he became a coach. If anything breaks down around the field house, Danny fixes it.”
Jones coaches the defensive line, and Pugh said his mentality is perfect to lead those young men.
“He’s blue collar, likes getting his hands dirty,” said Pugh. “Our kids feed off that.”
Jones has survived some stinker droughts in the Pirate program. The team won just four games in his first two seasons as an assistant and later just six in the three seasons before Pugh’s arrival.
From 1988 to 2007, the Pirates were 66-142-2 under Jones’ first seven head coaches. Still, he survived the cut each time.
Another big reason for his sticking around, Pugh said, is Jones is a heck of a history teacher, including having been named Teacher of the Year.
“He does a great job in the classroom,” said Pugh. “He’s a teacher first. He takes that very serious.
“He found his niche a long time ago. He loves teaching history. He’s one of those guys who really enjoys the academic side of his job.”
Pugh said it also helps to have someone like Jones, who knows Granbury history, around.
“It never hurts to have a guy who’s been here his whole life. He knows everybody, and that can be a good thing,” said Pugh.
From all indications, Jones has never aspired to be a head coach, though Pugh said he has the experience and knowledge to do so.
“Sometimes a guy just doesn’t want the headaches,” said Pugh. “He’s not only happy at his lot, but he’s extremely good at it.
“Every so often a guy just says this is what I want to do. Danny’s that guy.”
ALLEN FEELING RIGHT AT HOME
Malik Allen celebrated facing his former team by throwing a 54-yard touchdown pass and scoring on a 1-yard run against Trimble Tech in the Pirates’ 35-12 win on Oct. 25.
And while he said it was great seeing his old buddies again, he added that after he moved to Granbury prior to this season he immediately felt at home.
“I love it here. It’s awesome,” he said, adding that while being a part of the best season in nearly five decades is nice, so are his new teammates and neighbors.
“People down here are so nice. They treat me like family,” Allen said.
“It was a little tough the first day I came here, but the people received me and made me feel very comfortable.”
Allen has repaid them by rushing for 571 yards and 11 touchdowns on 90 carries (6.34 average) , catching 12 passes for 158 yards (13.2) and a TD, and now being 1-for-1 passing with a TD.
PIRATES AMONG AREA LEADERS
Entering last night, quarterback Ryan Suitt ranks third among Class 4A passers in the Fort Worth area, but his numbers are a bit misleading.
Suitt did not throw a single pass in a 56-13 win over O.D. Wyatt a few weeks ago. Still, he has completed 61 percent of the ones he has thrown (91-for-150) for 1,764 yards with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions.
His favorite target is Nick Doughty, who has hauled in 29 catches for 619 yards and five touchdowns, an average of 21 yards. He ranks ninth among area receivers.
The duo have combined to help make the Pirates the No. 7 passing offense with 227.0 yards per game.
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