Players cherish Jones’ impact on Garden City

GARDEN CITY — Garden City football players talk about head coach Vance Jones like he’s a family member.It’s just one way of putting his impact on the program in perspective. “Coach Jones is like a second dad almost,” running back Josh Colunga said. “He’s been there for us on and off the field. He’s a great coach. He knows what he’s doing. He takes care of us a lot. I’m glad I did it under his judgement and his coaching staff. The rest of the coaches are awesome and I just want to say thank you to all of them.”The Bearkats won their second consecutive Six-Man Division I state championship Saturday in an 82-68 win over Throckmorton in Abilene. In addition to that, though, it was Jones’ third state championship in his career, adding to an already impressive resume for the veteran coach.“I’m still kind of in a daze,” Jones said following the state championship trophy presentation. “It’s something you dream about. You hope your kids get that opportunity to get it and to win it. I’m sure it will sink in (Sunday). But right now, I’m elated.”There have been a lot of leaders and players who can be credited to the Bearkats’ two-year run of 29 consecutive victories, two state title and one untarnished record.Colunga has consistently wowed spectators with his ability to make people miss and flat out run past defenders. Blayne Batla has been poised in the pocket and Brett Chudej has made amazing catch after amazing catch.The players, however, said it was Jones who has brought it all together.Chudej said Jones can make a surprising play call at times or maybe even have an unconventional game plan, but there is a method to the coach’s madness and the players respect his knowledge of the game.“He has his times where you’re thinking what was he doing, but he’s just setting that play for something else,” Chudej said. “He knows the game. He wouldn’t be here five, six times and won three if he wasn’t a good coach.”