The attendees of the Balboa High School Athletic Hall of Fame awards banquet Saturday will be led in prayer by one of the evening’s honorees.
Pastor Calvin Jones Jr., an existing member of the Balboa Hall of Fame, will be honored along with his “Golden Dozen” teammates from the 1967 football team.
Only a junior, Jones scored 23 touchdowns that memorable season. Jones was the team’s tailback, but also played cornerback on defense and also returned kicks and punts.
The 1967 season was Balboa’s first undefeated campaign (11-0) and resulted in famed coach Archie Chagonjian’s first championship. In the Turkey Bowl, the Academic Athletic Association championship, Jones got redemption for his opening-kickoff fumble by scoring both touchdowns in the 14-0 victory over Lowell.
The San Francisco native is also a member of the San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame and University of Washington Hall of Fame. After an All-American career as a cornerback at Washington, Jones was disappointed that he wasn’t drafted until the 15th round by the Denver Broncos.
“I told them that I was 5-foot-9 all the way through college,” Jones said. “When the scouts measured me they found out that I was 5-foot-7¼.”
Despite his short stature, Jones started on the vaunted Orange Crush defense, leading the team in interceptions as a rookie. His first exhibition game brought him back home to Candlestick Park.
Calvin Jones, Sr., pastor of Providence Baptist Church in San Francisco’s Bayview district, conducted services that day as he did every Sunday and missed his son’s first NFL game.
“He was teaching me something,” Jones Jr. said. “When I was 13, I wanted to play Pop Warner, but my dad said, ‘No you have to keep your priorities straight; you have to go to church and can’t play on Sundays.’”
His four-year professional football career behind him, Jones’ ministerial service began in 1977 with appearances at Gerald Ford’s White House and Billy Graham’s Crusade.
With a degree from Harvard Divinity School, Jones returned home in 1985 to work with his father and assumed the title of senior pastor of Providence Baptist in 1991, where he remains today.
The Potrero Hill resident is very proud of the work that he and his father, who died in 1994, have accomplished in their 48 years at Providence Baptist: youth ministry, prison ministry, construction of a gymnasium and classrooms, 50 units of senior housing, and currently working on 70 units of housing for the homeless.
Jones feels that God took care of this undersized football player, and envisions his “spiritual journey” to do the same for others.
“As long as I am alive, we are going to serve people who are struggling,” Jones said. “As long as I’m eating, somebody else is going to eat.”
On Saturday night, the Balboa Hall of Fame inductees will be sharing a meal with one of San Francisco’s true greats.
WHAT: Balboa High School Athletic Hall of Fame and Hall of Merit awards banquet
WHERE: Patio Espanol, 2850 Alemany Blvd., San Francisco
TICKETS: (650) 851-8101
INDUCTEES: Mitsu Deberry (1985, baseball); Dave Tyree (1957, football); Willard Holman (1944, football); 1967 football team