November 1, 2022

HS Championships: EE great Jones part of Ainlay dynasty

Forty years ago this month, Ed Jones played in his sixth consecutive Grey Cup with the Green and Gold who won their fifth championship in a row.

On Saturday, Jones will coach with the Harry Ainlay Titans, who are in a sixth straight Metro Edmonton High School championship final and looking to win their fourth city title in that span.

Suffice to say, the legendary EE DB knows a thing or two about dynasties.

Ainlay takes on the Salisbury Sabres for the Carr Division championship Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. It’s the nightcap to a spectacular day of football that includes championship games in four Metro Edmonton divisions taking place back-to-back-to-back-to-back at Commonwealth Stadium, beginning at 10 a.m.


The Carr Division final could not be more marquee; in the Week 9 Football Alberta Tier 1 provincial rankings, Ainlay is first while Salisbury is third. Between them, the Titans and Sabres have only one loss this season, and that came from when they played each other, a 26-17 win for Harry Ainlay on Oct. 21. And to top it all off, this is a rematch of the 2021 Carr Division final, which saw Salisbury win 21-14ending the Titans’ three-season reign as champs.


Since that loss, the Titans have been unbeatable: they rebounded to capture the 2021 Alberta Schools Athletic Association Tier 1 championship last November, their third ASAA title in a span of four seasons, then rolled through the 2022 Edmonton Metro regular season with a perfect record. Last week Ainlay beat Spruce Grove 48-35 in the Carr Division semi-final, punching the Titans’ championship game ticket for the sixth time in as many seasons going back to 2016.

“We have a lot of experience on the team as well as a lot of youth and we were able to meld those two things together,” says Jones, who serves as Ainlay’s defensive backs coach. “These guys want to win, they have that attitude instilled in them by their coaches, so the kids go all out to do the best that they can to be a winner.”

Jones was inducted to the EE Wall of Honour in August, joining his former teammates Jim Germany and Joe Hollimon in the Class of 2022. The trio were integral parts of Edmonton’s five consecutive Grey Cup victories between 1978 and 1982.

A four-time CFL West All-Star, Jones recorded 31 interceptions in 110 regular season games with the Green and Gold. He shares the team single-game record for most interceptions (three) and interception returns for a touchdown (two).

Jones retired in 1984, and eventually got involved with coaching when his son, former Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive back Derek Jones, began playing Atom football in Edmonton. After well over a decade of coaching minor football, the senior Jones moved to the high school ranks where he now lends his expertise to the Titans.

“What motivates me today is the same thing that motivated me getting started, that was hopefully to transfer some of the skills that you need as a successful ball player to the kids coming up,” Jones says. “It’s very good to see that some of them have taken it upon themselves to utilize those techniques and skills that we taught them to become better players and winners.

“I’ve been associated with a lot of winners in football … and Harry Ainlay has been to the provincial finals the last four years in a row and have won three of them and are looking to get there again this year.”