Randy Jones wasn’t a fly-by-night placekicker in the Greater Spokane League back in the mid 1990s.
In fact, he was one in a long line of highly successful kickers who have come through the league.
He kicked so well that it earned the Ferris standout a full-ride scholarship to the University of Washington.
He’s listed on the GSL’s all-time list three times. Until last Thursday, he was atop that list with a career-long of 59 yards.
Then Jones got a text message from his father Friday morning, alerting him that he was no longer No. 1 and that a kid from Central Valley had booted one 67 yards.
Jones, 36, who lives in Bellingham with his wife, Leslie, and their 3-year-old daughter, immediately looked up the video of the kick. Needless to say, he was impressed.
Jones felt fortunate to kick the 59-yarder.
“One thing stands out,” Jones remembered. “The snap bounced on the ground a couple of times. My holder, Joe Baker, I consider that half his record. He snagged it and put it on the tee.”
Jones had what he called more intense kicks than the one that put him on the top of the list for 18 years.
He hit a 53-yarder in the closing seconds that went straight up, hit the crossbar and bounced over as time expired, allowing Ferris to defeat Rogers.
Then he made a 57-yard kick against Mead.
“I didn’t even know it was that long; that it was long enough for the record at the time,” Jones said. “I thought it was more like a 50-yarder.”
All of his long kicks came at Joe Albi Stadium.
“I always loved kicking there,” he said.
Jones, a three-year letterman, wasn’t just a specialist. He also started at wide receiver and defensive back for the late Pat Pfeifer.
“I always loved wide receiver,” Jones said. “That’s probably what I miss most – catching and running and being on the field. The kicking just got so much more attention that it became the focus. I had a big leg. Accuracy wasn’t my strong suit. I think I made only half of my kicks in high school and college, if that.”
He headed off to the UW and redshirted his first year. Then he did some kickoffs and field goal attempts here and there the next two years. But he gradually lost interest while finding his true passions.
“Kicking wasn’t working out,” Jones said. “I wasn’t kicking well and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I took off for Bozeman (Mont.) to do some fly fishing and build mandolins and guitars.”
The move to Bozeman started him on a path that would ultimately lead him to marrying a friend he knew back in junior high and high school.
In fact, Leslie was a cheerleader at Ferris and was at the game when he kicked the 59-yarder. Oddly enough, she was dating his holder, Baker.
They stayed in touch and in 2002 she met Jones and a group of friends they shared at a Blue Grass Festival near Bozeman.
“We went to a Blue Grass Festival at Grand Targhee and it happened there,” Jones said. “Our first kiss was on the side of the mountain.”
They immediately started a long-distance relationship. In 2003 they moved to Bellingham. They married in 2007 and moved to Spokane for a year in 2009 and back to Bozeman for a year before returning to Bellingham.
Jones is a wood worker, building dining and rocking chairs. Leslie is a massage therapist.
“I always had a thing for wood,” Jones said. “My grandfather always worked with wood. When I stopped playing football that’s what I was drawn to. I just had to find my own path.”
He has two other passions – fly fishing and playing Blue Grass music. He frequently will play a guitar while giving his daughter a bath.
“That’s the ritual right now and I fly fish as much as I can,” he said. “When my daughter was 2, I’d put her in my backpack and take her with me. Our main thing in the summer is we love to pack up the raft and camp. We love to float down a river and fish.”
His mom lives in Spokane and his dad is retired and lives at Rockford Bay just south of Coeur d’Alene.
The Jones have one child now. They don’t envision any others at the moment.
“We’re just too busy and have too many hobbies for a bigger family right now,” Jones said.
He hadn’t thought about kicking for several years until news reached him regarding his record being broken last week. It reminded him of how much he appreciates his life now.