The Right Route: The Phillip Jones-Price Story
REED CITY – As the Reed City football program has established itself in recent years as a dominant force in the Central State Activities Association and northern Michigan, the Jones brothers have been there every step of the way.
For years, Andre and PJay Jones starred as a special duo for the Coyotes. Now younger brother Phillip is following in their footsteps, amassing 5,144 rushing yards and 88 total touchdowns over a three-year varsity career to establish himself as one of the top high school running backs in Michigan.
But an unstable family situation separated the Jones brothers prior to Phillip entering high school.
Andre and PJay remained in Reed City while Phillip stayed by his mother’s side and moved to Big Rapids.
“I was kind of a momma’s boy. I didn’t want to leave her side,” he said. “A piece of me was kind of left back here because my siblings were still here.”
While Andre and PJay was excelling in Reed City, life remained complicated for Phillip in Big Rapids.
“Growing up wasn’t the greatest,” he said. “I really didn’t have a stable household with two parents in it.”
Concerned about their brother’s future, PJay and Andre turned to a man they trusted – Reed City football coach and former principal Monty Price.
“They were concerned about Phillip’s well-being,” Price said. “We had conversations with them at a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Seeing their genuine concern and wanting to see Phillip to be successful and grow and develop into a quality person.”
Price sat down with his wife, Tara, and children Jackson and Hanna to discuss welcoming Phillip into their home.
“We decided that it was time to sit down with the kids and discuss and see if it was time for him to come into our home,” Tara Price said. “We extended our hand to him, and he immediately said yes.”
Now five years later and a high school senior, Phillip Jones, who was named the school’s homecoming king this fall, took the Price family name and goes by Phillip Jones-Price, playing alongside his brother, best friend and quarterback Jackson Price.
“I always wanted a brother, so when I found out that we were going to take him in, I was super excited,” said Jackson Price, who will walk alongside Phillip at graduation in the spring.
“They have each other’s best friends over every night,” added Tara Price. “Football comes home. Dad and the boys at football, they continue to bring it home and encourage each other. It’s just more fun. It’s just more football in the house.”
Seeing their brother excel on the gridiron has driven PJay and Andre Jones to find success in their own career paths. PJay, 22, is currently employed by Grand River Construction in Hudsonville and is a member of Laborers Local 355, while Andre, 21, is a corrections officer with Osceola County Corrections.
“Growing up, it was rough,” said Andre Jones, who graduated from Reed City in 2016 with 3,680 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns. “Seeing another family member succeed is really putting us in a good position in life. It just keeps me driving every day seeing him drive every day. The things he has been through, seeing the level he’s competing at is very impressive.”
“They’re definitely my rock. They’re my everything. I don’t know where I’d be without them today.”
– Phillip Jones-Price
Jones-Price and Reed City made history a season ago by becoming the first team in program history to reach the state semifinals. At 10-0 this year and with yet another CSAA championship in hand, the Coyotes have rolled into their ninth straight postseason.
“To have that opportunity to not only have my own children be a part of that run, but to have my wife and daughter, who take football very seriously as well, to be a part of that, to be supportive of that. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just what we do,” Monty Price says. “It’s a part of our lives.”
It’s success that continues to grow on and off the field.
“As much as I’d like to think we changed his life, there’s no question he’s changed our lives as well,” Monty Price said. “He’s a part of our family and always will be.”
“I definitely came a long way from where I used to be,” Jones-Price added. “The footsteps that I was taking was definitely negative. I never thought I’d be in this position today with this family. There’s no other family I’d rather be a part of. They’re definitely my rock. They’re my everything. I don’t know where I’d be without them today.”
Jones-Price and the Coyotes will go for a Division 5 district championship Friday at home against Clare.