High school football: David Cornwell took long journey to Jones

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS — Jones quarterback spent time homeschooling and went on mission trip to Mali.
by Ryan Aber Published: October 4, 2012

photo - Jones High School quarterback David Cornwell on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Jones, Okla.   Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Jones High School quarterback David Cornwell on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Jones, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

“Homeschool was a great opportunity to prepare him for the trip, and he really ramped up on his French. It some ways it was exciting, but it was bittersweet. David loves football. It was a sacrifice that he had to make to give up the season, but he chose to make it willingly.”

But even without the reward of games on Friday nights, Cornwell kept working on football.

He threw to his dad at Davis Park in Jacksonville, occasionally working with former OU assistant Joe Dickinson when Dickinson visited Florida, and doing cross fit with an ex-drill sergeant.

“I was training every day, doing something,” Cornwell said. “There was a time when we went 22 straight days and I had three levels of blisters on my big toes. They'd bleed every night and I'd have to soak my feet to get ready for the next day.

“About Day 15, I'm thinking, ‘Why am I driving here?' A voice in you wants to quit, but there's such a big reward.”

Part of that reward is coming now that he's settled in as a junior at Jones.

Cornwell has the Longhorns 4-1 going into Friday's game vs. Mount St. Mary. Jones has won four straight after dropping its first game, which was Cornwell's first varsity action.

It's also coming on the recruiting trail, where the 6-foot-5 Cornwell already has an offer from Indiana. He has also visited or is scheduled to visit Oklahoma State, Auburn and Michigan.

It's also rewarding off the field, where Cornwell is settled in at Jones and Debbie is doing great physically after doctors fixed a medication issue that was causing her problems.

As much as the football training helped, the off-the-field lessons he's learned in the last year have done more to put him in a position to succeed in football or whatever else his life holds.

“He's become a lot more aware of the world as a broader place instead of just where we're at,” Debbie said. “He was able to experience firsthand what it's like in an impoverished area and to contribute and serve with no expectation of getting anything back.

“He's been blessed by God with his height and his talents. We wanted him to have an appreciation for how blessed he's been.”

It's also helped him find some calm as the recruiting process has heated up in recent months.

“Without that trip to Africa, I'd be worried about getting caught up in it,” Cornwell said. “You've got to stay humble through all this. It's kind of hard not to when you go over there.”

by Ryan Aber
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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St. Mary (2-3) at Jones (4-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Jones

Noteworthy: St. Mary's Mikee Anthony has rushed for 638 yards and nine touchdowns. ... Jones' Taylor Bilyeu has 69 tackles and 380 rushing yards. ... Randal Case has six interceptions for the Longhorns. ... Two of St. Mary's three losses have come by six points, including an overtime loss to Christian Heritage. Its wins have come by an average of 46 points.

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