The Grind, Presented by Bank of Clarendon: Lakewood's Mr. Everything, Jayden Jones


Lakewood's Jayden "Scooby" Jones is an athlete of many talents.

He's a running back and linebacker for the Gator football team. He's also a wrestler and throws javelin on the track team.

Scooby is also very well rounded outside of athletic competitions. In fact, he's one of the more appreciated students at Lakewood High School.

"He's the epitome of Lakewood High School," Lakewood football head coach Larry Cornelius said. "And I'm not just talking about as a football player, I'm talking about as a young man. When you look at a kid, you can see when their parents have done right. He's just such a great role model for this community.

"Any time we have new students that enroll at Lakewood school, he's one of the kids that we call out to show them around the school. He's very mature. He's a likable young man and he's almost always positive."


Scooby's parents have indeed played a big part in him being who he is today, especially his father, Joseph Jones. Joseph gave Jayden the nickname Scooby after the cartoon dog when he was younger and was one of Scooby's first coaches when he started playing sports in the fourth grade.

Wide receiver was Scooby's first real position on the football field when playing for his father. The two would go on to win a lot of games as Scooby grew up playing football, baseball and basketball, even winning a few state titles at the recreation level. While things turned out well, they didn't start off on the best of terms.

"It wasn't hard, but it was sometimes difficult because we would bump heads," Joseph said of coaching his son. "I would tell him, 'Hey, if you do things like this it'll be easier.' He'd say, 'But this is comfortable.' It got to a point where my wife, Cheryl, said, 'Hey, he is who he is. You can teach him everything you want to teach him but he can do it his own way.' Once I understood that she was right, things got better. I would give him pointers and then stay out of the way.

Scooby is appreciative of the toughness his dad would have when coaching him in those stages of his childhood playing days.

"Of course, he's hard on me," he said. "He's my dad, he has to be. I feel like it brought us closer together. Starting off, I wouldn't really like getting hit in football and he helped bring me into that part of the game. He would tell me, 'You're good at doing this. Take your talent as far as you can take until you can't take it any further.' I really appreciate him for that.

"Growing up, most people that I know and some of my friends, they don't have fathers. It's really hard to think of that being a thing for me. I really enjoy the fact that he's stayed with me, all these years of my life and I really love him… He really pushes me through everything, as a father should. It may be tough love, but I really feel the love part."


Those days playing rec for his father shaped him into the three-sport athlete he is at Lakewood. Scooby transitioned into a running back once he got to Lakewood with the help of coach Cornelius. He then transformed into a multi-purpose player for the Gators.

"He has a high football IQ," Cornelius said. "He's a player that hardly comes off the field. He's one of our starting inside linebackers, one of our starting running backs and is on special teams."

While part of being a multi-dimensional player comes from being skilled, it also comes from having a desire to help a team succeed. For Scooby, that desire is fueled by the love he has for his teammates.

"On the field, in the weight room, anywhere when it has to do with football, I will always put my heart and soul into it," Scooby explained. "I do work on myself a lot, but I really work for my teammates, because I know my team needs me and I need them. I love them and I hope they give me the same love back.

"When I'm on the field I have to make sure that I keep going because I don't want to mess them up, and I don't want to let them down. I never want them to think of me as anything less than a leader and as somebody who wants to help them get to where they want to be. They're my rocks; they are the reasons why I like playing the sport."


For a person as motivated as they are by their teammates like Scooby is, playing two individual centered sports may seem kind of odd. Scooby knows his grouping of sports isn't the most traditional, but his father believes that helps to display his character even more.

"He's the type of kid that likes to be different," Joseph said. "Scooby has friends, but he can entertain himself. With him, wrestling works out because it's all on him. In track, he throws a javelin, that's all on him. Football is something he gelled into. He's athletic enough to play anywhere and he's fast, so it worked out. He likes competition."


Being a 3-sport athlete means playing year-round. Not having a break is something that would be a factor for many athletes not wanting to play three different sports. The lack of an extended break isn't something that bothers Scooby.

"I didn't really worry about it too much," the Gator said. "Growing up in my family, it was always, if you're an athlete, do it. Don't settle for less than what you know you're worth. If I wasn't worth playing three sports a year, I probably wouldn't. I don't really worry about having a break. I'm constantly going because I know I can get myself better."

While Scooby has come to love competing in all three of the sports, one does stick out as his favorite.

"I would have to say track, honestly," Scooby said. "It's just me, my javelin and a runway. I get really good results. I PR'd every meet this season, and I missed state by one place. I said, 'Next season. I'm making it to state. I want to be the best.'

"People that think javelin is just for tall people and I'm going to show you how far I can throw this javelin at my height. I get to prove people wrong and that's why I like javelin the most."


When Scooby isn't playing sports, he has a passion for building.

"He's the go to guy if you have something that requires being built or put together," his father said. "I'm the guy that reads directions. He's the guy that looks at things and puts them together without directions. It's paying off now because he is in the mechatronics program at Central Carolina, the mechatronics and robotics program, so it shows that he has a creative mind but he actually can put his thoughts together."

One of the projects that Scooby has been proud to have accomplished is working with his dad to remodel the kitchen in their home upon his mother's request.

"We remodeled our whole kitchen," Joseph said. "We tore out all the old cabinets. We tore the kitchen down to nothing, and we had to put it back together. So, we installed new cabinets, new appliances. He was my right-hand man that whole project.

"We had to put cabinets back on the wall. We installed under cabinet lighting, wired in a stove top and we had to do a lot of plumbing. I know I could do a whole lot but while I'm figuring out how to do those things in my mind, he was already five steps ahead of me."

He's also thinking a few steps ahead for his career. While he's working to finish his education and athletic career at Lakewood, he's got a plan for the next stage of his life.

"I feel like academics are way more important than athletics," Scooby said. That's how I was raised. If sports don't work out for me after high school, I'm going to college to get my degree for mechatronics and robotics. From there, I can go into the workforce so that I can make money doing what I love to do outside of sports.

"I feel like I can really make a change in the world with what I love doing by building, putting things together and maybe creating an invention to help those in need."