(With Park View High School slated to merge with Bluestone HS to form the new Mecklenburg County HS in 2022, the South Hill Enterprise is running an ongoing series that looks back at some of the outstanding athletes and coaches and their stories through the years. This is story No. 20 in the series.)
Thomas E. Jones was one of the first great fullbacks to play football at Park View High School.
Jones, a 175-lb senior in 1960, was a standout on the gridiron with a hard-driving approach when running up the middle and a fifth gear when he hit the open field while helped him lead Group II, District 3 in scoring that season.
Jones led the Dragons in rushing and scoring in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
“He was very good,” said retired South Hill Enterprise editor Frank Nanney, Jr., who covered sports during the period. “He was an All-District player and scored a lot of touchdowns. He was one of those players who would break loose and you would not catch him.”
Jones was one of six returning lettermen in the backfield for Coach Harold Wise and the Dragons in 1960.
The others were Marvin Crutchfield, Ronnie Jones, James Martin, Jesse Poythress and Claude Washburn.
The Dragons opened the campaign with a 13-7 win on the road at Blackstone as Jones scored both touchdowns for Park View and rushed for 138 yards on the night including a touchdown run of 82 yards.
Claude Washburn, who switched from quarterback to tailback, also went over the century mark with 107 yards rushing from the backfield in the victory.
Park View fell to Victoria 33-14 in their second game of the second but Jones scored both touchdowns for the local team and finished the game with 49 yards rushing.
Chuck Watson caught nine passes for 98 yards in the loss for the Dragons.
Park View tied Amelia 13-13 in their straight road game to open the season. Jones scored a touchdown and had 60 yards rushing while speedster Marvin Crutchfield led the ground game in the contest with 159 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Park View fell to the defending district champions, Crewe, 20-19 in the fourth contest and first home game of the season.
Jones scored two touchdowns in the game and rushed for 93 yards.
The Dragons romped over Buckingham 39-0 in the fifth game of the season behind four touchdowns from Jones who finished with 74 yards rushing on the night. The four touchdown game moved Jones into the top spot in the district in scoring.
Park View fell 7-6 in their next game to Cumberland as Jones scored the lone touchdown for the local team.
The Dragons earned their biggest victory since the school opened in 1955 two weeks later when Park View stunned undefeated cross-county foe Bluestone HS, 19-18.
Jones rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown.
Alex Burnette, also one of the top scorers in the district for Bluestone, rushed for 132 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns on the night.
Crutchfield also had a big game for Park View rushing for 109 yards on 13 carries and scoring a touchdown with less than two minutes to play.
The Barons scored on the final play of the game as Burnette found pay dirt on an 11-yard run to cut the deficit to one.
On the PAT, Jones and Jimmy Brame broke through the line to block the PAT as a crowd estimated at 2,000 rushed the field in South Hill to celebrate.
Jones ended his career with a huge game in a 20-12 win over Greensville in the season finale as he scored three touchdowns on runs of 1, 14 and 89 yards in the victory to capture the district scoring title.
His scoring total of 113 points, was five ahead of Burnette that season. Both young men scored 18 touchdowns on the season but Jones edged Burnette with five extra point runs.
Jones finished the season with 779 yards rushing on 165 carries for a 4.7 yard average.
Park View finished the season with a 5-4-1 record.