WELEETKA, Oklahoma – Jonas Manley, son of Michael and Karla, is a senior at Weleetka High School. Manley is a four-sport athlete playing basketball, baseball, football, and track. He was recently chosen to play in the Class B All-Star Game set for June in Miami, Okla. The Weleetka Outlaws football team, headed by Coach Tristan Garringer and Johnie Loggins as the assistant coach, had a 10-3 record overall and 4-1 in their district this year.
At the end of the season, he expressed his gratitude for his team, friends, family, and community on Facebook.
“I’m just thankful I got to play for my team and a coach always willing to help us and push us to try to be a better person and a better football player,” said Manley. “I was blessed to be a part of a team like that.”
“Me growing up in this small town and getting support from my family, coaches, and friends is a huge blessing. Playing in a great environment and having a hometown behind my back has meant the world to me.”
Manley is a Mvskoke citizen, part of the wind clan, and comes from a family full of athletes who attended and played various sports at Weleetka. Manley’s dad, Michael, a former Outlaw football player himself, coached him during little league football. He started playing flag football in second grade, which transitioned into contact football in third grade.
“I’ve helped him, coached him when he was younger, and so hopefully, he learned something from me,” Michael Manley said. “Watching him throughout the years, he’s always played with a lot of heart, and he’s always had help with his teammates too.”
During his high school career, Manley received an All-District honorable mention as a freshman, 2nd team All-District defensive back as a sophomore, 1st team All-District defensive back as a junior, and 1st team All-District wide receiver and was voted to play on the All-Star team as a senior. Manley played as a wide receiver and cornerback during this football season. His final stats for the season include 1,201 all-purpose yards, 11 touchdowns, 35 tackles, and two turnovers.
Manley enjoys the competition on the field, but he also values the connection with his fellow players.
“I like teaching the underclassmen how to take responsibility for their position and being a leader on the team,” said Manley. “Being around my teammates and us just having fun.”
Manley was one of three Outlaws chosen for the All-Star team, in which 20 players are from B District 8, which includes Weleetka, Wetumka, Davenport, Summit Christian Academy, Depew, Strother, and Wellston schools.
“I had no idea I was nominated, but I felt pretty good about that,” Manley said. “There’s a lot of great athletes in our class.”
His family is proud of his accomplishments.
“Of course, I always think he deserves it, but I was excited,” said Manley’s mom Karla. “I was just like, you know, there was somebody who recognized his hard work, his hard work paid off.”
Other teams and coaches also recognized Manley’s talent and hard work.
“If anybody would’ve come and watched him play in our last game, you would’ve seen why. Even the Laverne coach was pretty amazed,” said Johnie Loggins, Weleetka High School Assistant Football Coach. “The picture that’s going around with him making that catch, the coach at Laverne didn’t think he would be able to get to it, but he got up and got it.”
The All-Star game recognizes the top 80 football players from Oklahoma’s Class B and C schools. Players from the even-numbered districts will face the odd-numbered districts at the Green vs. Gold Showdown on June 17 at 6 p.m. at Red Robertson Field on the campus of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. Before the game, these players will spend a week in Miami under the guidance and instruction of twenty coaches from the Oklahoma 8-Man Football Association (OEMFCA). College recruiters and scouts are likely to attend the game along with friends and family of the players from across Oklahoma.
When asked what he would say to those who may be looking up to him, Manley said, “If you want something, you always have to work hard for it, and you’ll see the results, and eventually, it will just pay off.”
Manley applied to the University of Central Oklahoma and planned on pursuing a career in Kinesiology. Of course, he also hopes to continue playing football in college. He will graduate from Weleetka High School in May.