Adversity or Advantage: Malachi Jones' Story
November 13, 2017 by Logan Huff, Arizona State University
Goodyear, AZ - The cornerback stood five to seven yards from the line of scrimmage with his eyes locked on the opposing wide receiver with one goal in mind: stop the offensive play.
The ball was snapped, the quarterback dropped back and Malachi Jones saw his opportunity when the ball was launched. He reached up, grabbed the interception with one hand and ran the other way for 30 yards.
Jones, a senior cornerback/receiver from Millennium High School, made his first interception with one hand.
Jones was born with one full arm.
“I have to say that was the happiest moment of my life because I have worked so hard this season,” Jones said. “I showed everybody that I am just like everybody else and I can do the things they can.”
Jones is not the typical high school football player, but like every other student-athlete, he has competed his whole life.
During the last game of the season, Millennium was up 40-0 against Valley Vista.
Jones asked head coach Lamar Early if he could get a few minutes of playing time. Jones was put in as a cornerback. When he saw his opportunity for the interception, he didn’t hesitate.
After Jones was tackled, the entire team and coaching staff mauled him on the sidelines. The team almost received a penalty for excessive celebration.
“It was one of the first times all season that there wasn’t any selfishness, any entitlement, any personal agenda,” Millennium defensive coach Michael Loprich said. “It was all about being excited for one kid – with one arm, who was at practice every day and never complained, never asked about why he wasn’t playing, never even mentioned his disability.”
Early said Jones has always been a positive player, despite being born with only one full arm. He said Jones is also very supportive of his teammates.
“He’s not only there for the varsity, but he shows up for the freshman football team,” Early said. “He helps them out as their water boy and team manager.”
Justin Bridges, junior punter/defensive end, is very close to Jones. They met a few football seasons ago and immediately clicked.
Bridges said Jones has always been a go-getter and never stands down to a competition. He always embraces it.
“He doesn’t fear much,” Bridges said. “If he does, he never shows it. His main thing is when someone tells him he can’t do something, he’s going to do it. Period.”
Jones doesn’t let anything stand in his way of getting better, especially when he is told otherwise. Bridges said Jones doesn’t show frustration or insecurity. He always shows up and proves people wrong.
One day at football practice the team was told to do push-ups. One of the coaches looked at Malachi and said that he might not be able to do them. Malachi quickly responded with, “Yes I can!” and he did the push-ups with the rest of the team.
“I want to show people that they should never doubt me,” Jones said. “People will know that I can show up when I need to, just like everybody else.”