Derrick Jones began his career with Atlanta Falcons Tuesday.

The former Silver Valley football player returned to the NFL with the Falcons practice squad.

"For someone who took like two months off, it wasn't too bad," Jones said. "I feel I can still start and do pretty good things at this level."

It was Jones' first NFL action since getting cut from the Pittsburgh Steelers in late August. Jones was signed by the Steelers after the 2006 NFL Draft and had a strong showing in his first preseason game with the team before tearing his calf muscle in the game. He began resting his injured calf and didn't see anymore playing time.

When the Steelers released him, they indicated they'd be interested in resigning him once his injury healed, but Pittsburgh never gave him his second chance.

"They pretty much didn't call back," Jones said. "It doesn't matter. I just moved on."
Jone's torn calf muscle took almost a month to heal, but isn't giving him problems anymore.
"Nothing is wrong with it now," Jones. "I feel like I'm back to where I started off from."

During his time off, Jones spent time in Michigan, where he went to school at Grand Valley State, and Barstow before getting a call for a tryout from the Falcons on Friday. Twelve other players attended the tryout, but the Falcons selected Jones.

Jones said he hopes his experience with the Falcons this season will lead to a training camp invitation, with Atlanta or elsewhere, for the 2008 season.


Where is the 50?

Getting lost on Don Price Field hasn't been hard to do.

Football coach Andy Campbell remembers taking his physical education classes out to the field at Silver Valley High School, telling them to line up on the 50-yard line and scratching his head before counting down yard lines.

Calling plays during games wasn't much easier. Small orange markers sat in 10-yard increments on the visitors sideline, but often fell down quickly due to wind, leaving coaches, players and stat keeping journalists with little more than an educated guess for field position on some plays.

"When the orange markers get blown, I have no idea where I am going," Campbell said. "Then I just gauge it on which third of the field are we on?"

The 50-yard line should be clear now with large painted numbers every 10 yards stenciled onto the field.

"It's just an extra landmark to have on the field - a visual landmark," Campbell said. "Because me, I'm a visual guy. You can tell a kid, `Hey go nine feet from the sideline.' Well nine feet is 12 for this kid and four for that kid."

Referees began requesting that Silver Valley paint at least a hash at the nine-foot line, the area where the stenciled markers are suppose to be, during the Trojans first home games. Silver Valley went one better with full numbers that were added before its game against Mammoth.

Although Campbell said he's never called a play he later regretted because of not knowing his exact field position, the added numbers should enhance his ability to make decisions. Plus, it just looks nice.

"It kind of spices up the field a little bit," Campbell said. "Hats off to grounds people for making it look nice and working with the little bit they have to work with."


Mammoth trip

The Mammoth volleyball team got home even later than usual on Saturday.

Mammoth faces a six-hour drive to and from their games against Silver Valley and Lucerne Valley throughout the year. In order to reduce the number of road trips the Huskies frequently schedule a game on Friday and the following Saturday. That's exactly what the team did last weekend. However, it didn't quite workout for Mammoth.

The Huskies journey started on a bad note when they dropped their Friday game 3-1 to Lucerne Valley. They then made the hour-long drive to Barstow hoping to get some rest before their game against Silver Valley. However, when they got to the Quality Inn their reservations, made through Expedia.com, were somehow canceled. Mammoth coach Megan Guffey and the hotel staff worked the problem out, and they had rooms for the night.

"It was a long night," Guffey said on Saturday. "We had a good game last night. They were talking about the fact that we were the best team they've played in awhile, but it's always annoying to lose. Then we had the drive and the hotel issues."

The next morning Mammoth got up and headed to Silver Valley at 11 a.m. to warm up for their 1 p.m. game. When they arrived no one else was there. Silver Valley had the game scheduled at 5 p.m. Mammoth was finally able to get in contact with school administration and were let into the gym to warm up, but the game was only moved up to 45 minutes because the officials were not available and Silver Valley's team didn't all arrive until later.

"It's incredibly frustrating, but what's new with this season?" Guffey said. "I've heard this isn't the first time it's happened to one of our teams when we travel this way."

It was a close match once it finally got underway at 4:15 p.m. There was less than five points between the teams in each game. However, the Trojans still managed to take it in three straight 25-20, 25-22 and 26-24. Shannon Fieste led the team with nine kills while her sister added nine blocks. Shelby Eichler contributed six aces and six kills to the victory.

"It feels really good to win, although it came closer than I would have liked it to," Silver Valley coach Tesherian Ellis said. "I wanted to build a bigger lead, but with no warm ups, and it was early, we did the best with what we had."