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CV grad contributes at Merced College
Tyree Jones' role with the Merced College football team expanded during the course of the season.

The 2011 Central Valley High School grad logged playing time on special teams before emerging as a threat at running back.

Jones earned Golden Gate Conference second-team honors for his contributions on the gridiron.

Tyree, a 5-foot-5, 155-pound freshman, rushed for 377 yards and five touchdowns in eight games.

"I worked hard," he said.

Jones helped lead the Blue Devils to a 4-6 overall record and tie for third place in the GGC (2-3) with West Hills. Merced College won four of its five home games.

"No one wants to be under .500," he said. "Next year, we'll be even better. Most of our contributors were freshmen so they're coming back."

Tyree averaged 8.4 yards per carry.

He had a productive three-game stretch after playing sparingly during Merced College's embarrassing 72-26 loss to host Modesto Junior College on Oct. 8. Jones didn't touch the ball once.

"That ticked me off," said Tyree, who didn't get an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of his family and friends. "But I never gave up."

Jones ran for 76 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Blue Devils' 35-7 victory against Los Medanos on Oct. 15.

He totaled 86 yards and one score during Merced College's 30-27 setback at Chabot on Oct. 22.

He piled up a career-high 153 yards on 17 carries in a 13-10 loss at De Anza on Oct. 29.

Tyree plans to run track for the Blue Devils during the springtime.

Jones played behind Vince Lopez during his junior year at Central Valley. Tyree rumbled for 164 yards and two touchdowns as the Hawks beat Ceres High 28-26 in the Fourth Annual Ceres Classic rivalry game.

Jones made a name for himself as a senior. He earned first-team, Western Athletic Conference accolades. Tyree gained 1,717 yards and tallied 14 TDs, both school records at the time. He also played a major role in the Hawks' 55-24 blowout of the crosstown-rival Bulldogs. Jones racked up 391 yards and three scores.

"It (college) was way more challenging," Jones said. "I was always the smallest player on the field."

Former Central Valley football players Trevor Mew, Vince Lopez, Nick Mead, Alex Casas, Greg Mathews and Jesse Hatfield also contributed at the collegiate level in 2011.

Mew was Merced College's starting quarterback.

Trevor passed for a conference-high 2,350 yards, to go along with 20 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

Lopez split time at running back during his first season with De Anza College. He ran for 355 yards and three touchdowns on 69 carries as the Dons posted a 7-3 record and tied for second in the GGC (3-2) with Diablo Valley.

Mead, Casas, Mathews and Hatfield suited up for Modesto Junior College (8-3, 3-2 Valley Conference).

Nick had 19 tackles and one sack.

Alex tallied 18 tackles and one sack.

Greg caught six passes for 35 yards. He also returned a blocked punt 47 yards for a score.

Jesse had six of his punts downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line.