PARKERSBURG - Ritchie County football player Devon Jones knows what it's like to grow up with cystic fibrosis.
His first cousin, 13-year-old Kaylee Reed of Pennsboro, has been afflicted with CF since birth. So Jones has seen the trials and tribulations of what she has had to deal with throughout her entire life so far by having cystic fibrosis.
Jones, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound running back and linebacker, will not only play for West Virginia versus Ohio in the 20th annual BACF (Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis) Football Classic at 7 p.m. Friday at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta, but has also dedicated the game to Reed.
Her cystic fibrosis "made me really want to play in this game," said Jones after a W.Va. BACF team practice here Monday. ''I view it as more than just a game. I view it as a chance to help find a cure for this disease.
"And I'm trying to encourage everyone to come to this game. I mean, they're not only going to watch some of West Virginia and Ohio's best seniors play football, but also would be helping find a cure."
Jones - headed to Marshall to study medicine, then planning to transfer to WVU to become a general practitioner - finished off his prep grid career at Ritchie last fall as an All-LKC selection. "I was happy with my career there," he said. "I got a chance to run the ball as a senior (with 96 carries for 646 yards and six touchdowns), and am glad I played well enough to play in this game."
If You Go
* The BACF Ohio vs. West Virginia Football Classic will be played at 7 p.m. Friday at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta, featuring area senior players. Tickets are $5 at the gate. W.Va. leads the series, 12-7.
And for a final finisher, by dedicating the game to Reed, ''I'll play my heart out for her," said Jones, adding that goal guarantees he "will just leave everything I have left on the field. It'll be my last chance, my final game ever."
Jones, though, didn't start playing football until middle school since he had chronic asthma growing up. "I was thought never to play football," he said. "But then I just started working out, trying to get in shape until my doctor finally let me play. And once I began playing, I just grew to it."