“I started to really enjoy the game about my sophomore year, when I started playing Varsity both [offense and defense.] I loved the grind of the sport, the feeling I got from early morning or night lifting and after the games,” said Cowboy football player Kason Janes, when asked where his dedication to the sport came from. “I had good upperclassmen when I was younger … that helped me a lot. A healthy competition I would call it. I wanted to perform at the highest level. The game is really fun and I learned to love it. It’s easy to be dedicated when you love something.”
Janes has committed to begin his college football career with Southern Utah University - quite an achievement for a small-town high school ball player, according to coaches and school staff. Janes received all-state recognition for all three years that he started for the Cowboys, playing primarily defensive end and tight end. His career stats include 1538 receiving yards, 48 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns - and that’s just from the offensive side. Defensively, Janes had 206 tackles, 50 tackles for a loss, 21 sacks, caused 18 fumbles, recovered three fumbles, two interceptions and two touchdowns.
According to Coach JR Quarnberg, “Kason left us with some great memories on the field. The game winning catch in the corner of the end zone that put an end to a long losing streak against Beaver … his dominant defensive playoff performance against Enterprise where he played linebacker for the first time and led the Cowboys to a state championship game … or countless game-changing sacks, big hits and clutch catches.”
But what impressed the coaches about Janes’ performance the most were not the shiny highlights of his career. “College offers and big plays are great … but they didn’t come for free. Kason worked his tail off to be the best he could be. It was common for me to be locking up the facility, and find Kason alone or with a willing teammate in the weight room … or to check film study logs and see that Kason had put in hours of film study,” said Quarnberg. “Kason was a joy to coach, an awesome teammate and leader, a special player and an all-time great Kanab Cowboy.”
“I want to make an impact when I first get to SUU as a true freshman,” said Janes. “I know I have a lot of work to do, but thinking about it makes me excited to see where I can go and what my body can do … I don’t have a specific idea for what I want to do, but something with business would be interesting to me.”
When prompted for advice for any younger students and players seeking to follow a similar path, Janes offered the following: “Being from a small town, I had a lot of doubts - going to camps this last summer, seeing the other kids I was going against and drilling with, I had my doubts, not going to lie. But what I would tell younger kids is don’t follow or listen to what other people say or think. You got to shut the outside noise off and not compare yourself to others. I did what I loved and did what I could and wanted to. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to play on the next level.”
Janes is set to graduate with the class of 2023, and is set to serve a two-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before starting up at SUU. The coaches from KHS proudly wished Janes good luck, and many members of the Kanab community did the same.