The Kansas City Chiefs have several ties to Dallas, dating back to their days as the AFL's Dallas Texans in the 1960s and, of course, the city's longstanding connection with the Hunt family — Lamar Hunt is the franchise's founder and owner, and his sons, Clark and Dan, are continuing the family’s legacy as the helm of the Chiefs and FC Dallas.
And with Kansas City making its third Super Bowl appearance in the past four years, a pair of former local high school stars hope to help the team hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the third time in team history on Sunday when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
Suiting up for the Chiefs will be linebacker and former Frisco Lone Star phenom Nick Bolton, as well as running back and McKinney North legend Ronald Jones II.
"It's pretty cool, seeing a kid you knew way back when he was just a skinny eighth-grader, knowing he had some talent but was still gaining confidence, and seeing him go from that to what he has become today is just awesome," said Mike Fecci, former North head coach. "It's such a blessing to get to [Jones] watch him progress and getting to play in another Super Bowl is just outstanding."
The two blue-chippers never squared off in high school, and their careers only overlapped by one year with Jones graduating in 2015 and Bolton in 2018, but they've both since gone on to establish careers at the highest level of the sport and left quite the legacy with their respective high school programs along the way.
"Nick was always destined to be a special player," said Jeff Rayburn, Lone Star head coach. "Nick has traits that cannot be coached. His intangibles, instincts, leadership ability and work ethic are second to none."
A key component of Lone Star's state runner-up team as just a sophomore in 2015, Bolton authored a decorated career in Frisco that included earning District 13-5A MVP honors as a senior — a rarity for a defensive player. That year, Bolton recorded a whopping 130 tackles, five interceptions, four forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns before going on to submit an All-American career at Missouri.
"From Day One, he was a leader on and off the field. He is the smartest football player I have ever been around and one of the best leaders," Rayburn said.
Jones, meanwhile, exited North as its all-time leading rusher with 4,935 yards (8.9 per carry) and 76 touchdowns on the ground. Jones eclipsed 2,000 rushing yards in both his junior and senior seasons, highlighted by 2,406 yards on the ground in 2013, and he helped lead North on its deepest playoff run ever with a regional finals appearance in 2014.
"If he didn't get hit at the line of scrimmage, he always felt like he was going to go all the way," Fecci said. "I haven't seen another guy live since that had that kind of explosive burst through the hole, and then the acceleration and vision he had were second to none."
Jones is no stranger to this stage, having already contributed to one Super Bowl-winning effort just two years prior with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fittingly enough, that came in Super Bowl LV against the Chiefs, a 31-9 victory where the former Bulldogs star rushed for 61 yards.
Later that summer in June 2021, Jones hosted a youth football camp at North and had his jersey number, 24, retired. That same day, McKinney Mayor George Fuller presented Jones with a city proclamation recognizing June 26, 2021 in the city as Ronald Jones II Day.
Jones amassed 2,174 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns over four seasons in Tampa and has since found a home in Kansas City, supplying depth in the backfield alongside Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire this season.
On the other side of the ball, Bolton has carved out an everyday starting role at linebacker in just his second year in the league. The former Lone Star sensation leads Kansas City in tackles at 180 to go along with two sacks, six quarterback pressures, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
"If you know Nick Bolton, it is hard to ever doubt what he could accomplish," Rayburn said. "His desire to be the best and put forth the work that it takes, we knew he would be special beyond Lone Star."
It's an impact not lost on the student-athletes who have suited up for North and Lone Star in the years since — a motivator to realize their own goals of someday making it to the pros. Many of those same kids will tune in Sunday to see if Jones and Bolton can close out their seasons with a championship.
"Any time a kid can walk down the hallway and see a picture or poster or some memorabilia of a guy who walked the same hallways they did and went on to play at that level and even win a Super Bowl, it helps put some kids' dreams into reality," Fecci said. "They realize that it can happen and there are guys who do make it."
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Rick Rogers is the president & publisher of Star Local Media and its 14 print and digital local media publications. Email him at email@example.com.
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