Along Came Jones: Wagoner winning streak began after Jones moved up as freshman to varsity team
Wagoner lost the first football game in which Nikia Jones started at wide receiver. It was week 5 of the 2104 season against Cascia Hall and Jones was a freshman, having just been moved up to the varsity team.
The Bulldogs haven't lost since.
Since Jones' second game as a starting wide receiver for Wagoner, the Bulldogs have won 37 straight and three state championships.
“I am not saying he is the only reason, but he has been a big part of that,” Wagoner coach Dale Condict said.
The 6-4, 215-pound senior receiver/safety is No. 18 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list of the top recruits in the state. He has made big play after big play for Wagoner the past three seasons.
“His freshman year he made a catch and run in the semifinals that put us into the championship game and then his sophomore year he caught the game-winning touchdown in the state championship game,” Condict said. “We had fourth and goal from the 5 and one play left and he caught a touchdown pass. He also made a huge catch to set that up.
“He has been a guy that has made some really big plays in critical situations for us. It seems like the bigger the game, the better he plays.”
Jones has been a big play guy with a nose for the end zone.
In his three seasons for the Bulldogs, Jones has caught 39 touchdown passes, rushed for three scores, returned two punts for touchdowns, returned a kick-off for a score and had a pick-six on defense.
For his career, Jones has 105 receptions for 2,568 yards, an average of nearly 25 yards per catch.
He has collegiate offers from Kansas, Iowa State, Wyoming, North Texas, Eastern Michigan, Memphis, Stephen F. Austin and Utah State to play wide receiver, but other schools are recruiting him on defense.
He became a two-way starter for Wagoner last season, playing safety as well as wide receiver.
“His role expands every year,” Condict said. “We started him on defense last year and we actually hand him the ball a little more on jet sweeps and things of that nature. He is also our punter.”
As crucial as Jones has been to the Bulldogs the past three seasons, he may even be more important to them this season.
“Each year there has been another guy that has kind of been the man, so now that's going to be him,” Condict said. “He drew more and more double teams last year so I am guessing that will continue. We are going to move him off the ball some and motion him some to keep teams from doing that to us too much.”
Condict said Jones' rushing attempts will likely increase this season so the Bulldogs can get the ball into the hands of their best player as much as possible.
“He runs really well for a guy that big,” he said.
One thing Condict can be sure of. When the spotlight is the brightest, he can count on Jones to be at his best.
“He's really laid back off the field, but as soon as we snap the ball, that changes,” he said.
The Oklahoman’s Super 30
Name: Nikia Jones
Super 30 ranking: 18
Recruited by: Kansas, Iowa State, Memphis, Wyoming, North Texas, Eastern Michigan, Stephen F. Austin, Utah State