CARROLLTON A standout local high school football player celebrating the end of his junior year drowned at Lewisville Lake early Saturday morning.

Jaquis Jones, 17, was supposed to be a captain of the Newman Smith High School football team this fall. But on the night before the school's graduation ceremony, students are in shock as they mourn his loss.

Classmates circled the football field Saturday evening not to celebrate a great victory, but to share a tremendous loss.

At least 200 young people attended the candlelight vigil for Jaquis, a standout on the Trojans squad.

One of the mourners was David Vazquez, Jaquis' best friend and a fellow football player.

He was a great kid, David said. He was like the funniest kid you could meet. He was outgoing... never sad.

This was the first weekend of summer vacation for Jaquis, and the summer before his senior year, when he would be a captain on the Trojans football team.

Police were called to the Pier 121 Marina at Lewisville Lake after midnight Friday. Jaquis was there with friends.

Witnesses said Jaquis jumped from a pier into the water and never surfaced.

Fire department divers found him. He was rushed to a local hospital where he died almost two hours after police were called.

Head Newman Smith football coach Paul Ressa said once they get past the shock of what happened, his teammates will realize that where Jaquis really shined was not on the field, but in life.

He did show us how to have fun, Coach Ressa said. He did show us how to handle adversity. He did show us how to go through pain and suffering and come out on the other side.

Inside the Trojans' locker room, Jaquis' locker was arranged like it would be for game day... but no one will wear number 51 next season. The team decided to retire it.

On Saturday evening, teammates stopped by to see his jersey and picture one more time. An open Bible was inside on the locker's top shelf.

Many of Jaquis' friends wore hot pink bandanas in his memory.

Jaquis had a close relationship with his mother Donna, who is battling breast cancer, but the pink bandanas students wore were not for her; it was a tribute to Jaquis and his favorite rapper.

That was his thing, I guess, and everyone just followed with him, David Vazquez said.

His heart was big, Coach Ressa added. He talked about his mom and his family, and that was a huge factor in his life, and that's what made him go.

Jaquis is survived by his mother and a younger brother and sister.

In March, another Newman Smith student, 16-year-old Gerson Lagunez, died unexpectedly while walking home after playing a game of Frisbee.


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