Home Sports Local Sports It took a village — Reese signs with NMMI

It took a village — Reese signs with NMMI

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Jasia Reese, pictured second from left, signed to continue his academic and football career with New Mexico Military Institute. On hand to congratulate him was his family, from left, Laura Reese, grandmother; Carolyn Reese, great aunt; and Shamoane Reese, aunt. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

The great Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears used to say, “All I need is 18 inches of daylight.”

Roswell’s Jasia Reese (2) runs the ball against Los Lunas last season at the Wool Bowl. (David Rocha File Photo)

For Roswell’s Jasia “Sweet Feet” Reese, he proved to need less than 6 inches of daylight to take a 1-yard gain to the house.

Jasia was Roswell’s homerun threat for the last two years. At 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds, Jasia could score from any position on the field. From offense, defense and special teams, Jasia has been a once-in-a-decade player, as Roswell’s two-year domination has yet to end.

For the Coyotes, Jasia’s value to them was his flexibility. He made all-state as a wide receiver in 2018. In 2019, he made all-state as a running back. Jasia put fear in defensive coordinators and defensive backs. As soon as the ball was snapped, defensive backs would start backpedaling for fear of getting beat deep.

In the last two plays of the Artesia game at the Wool Bowl, in Jasia’s junior year, Roswell coach Jeff Lynn noticed Artesia had put their best defensive back on Jasia. Lynn had him line up out wide in the slot and put Dylan Tucker out wide to the left side of the field, facing Roswell’s bench.

When the ball was snapped, Jasia ran an inside route while Tucker ran a go toward the sidelines. Roswell had so many speedsters that Artesia had to pick who to cover. They decided not to let Jasia beat them deep.

The pass was completed and Tucker managed to get out of bounds. On the next play, Tucker lined up on the right side of the field, and Jasia on the left side of the field. Coyotes’ quarterback Ethan Valenzuela lofted a pass to Tucker, who scored the game-winning touchdown as time ran out. That score put Roswell in their first championship game in 20 years.

Jasia did it all for the Coyotes, in his junior and senior years. Not only did he make all-state both years at different positions, but he is one of three Roswell players chosen to play in the North-South all-star game in June.

“We came out with the mindset that we were going to win,” Jasia said. “We felt like nobody can beat us. We worked hard every day and coach Lynn rode us, we had to trust the process.”

Coach Lynn used Jasia to end games, such as when starting running back Joel Renteria was injured in the Goddard game. Lynn lined Jasia up in the backfield and just ran straight ahead on multiple plays. There was nothing cute or fancy, it was Roswell power football as they drove the ball downfield and scored.

Jasia showed how tough he was because he ran inside and didn’t look to break it to the outside. He picked up the tough yards and held onto the ball to put the game away.

“Yeah, that was against Goddard,” Jasia said. “Coach told me to ‘make plays.’”

Many people wonder where Jasia gets his athletic ability. According to his grandmother, Laura Reese, Jasia gets his talents from her. Laura Reese was a standout athlete at Del Norte High School in Albuquerque. She ran track, played volleyball and dominated in basketball. She felt that if she had a stronger support system around her, she might have been in the WNBA.

Laura Reese credits her brother, Danny Reese, who was up in Albuquerque, visiting Jasia and watching him play football. Danny Reese told her that Jasia was special at the age of 7. He felt that with a family unit to support him, Jasia could be all that he could be in life and be given a chance to excel athletically and academically.

Since then, Jasia’s mother, Jameelah Reese, along with his grandmother, Laura Reese, decided it would be best for Jasia if he was around his grandmother, great aunt, Carolyn Reese, and uncle, Danny Reese and extended family. All have had an impact on raising him and on his development as an athlete and person.

“I love my family,” Jasia said. “They come first. I do everything for them. This is for my family. I love them.”

To get ready for his senior year, Jasia put on 20 pounds of muscle. He did it without losing any speed or quickness. By doing that, he was able to run through tacklers as well as around them.

“It was a blessing to not lose any of my speed or quickness,” Reese said. “I knew that I was going to take a lot of hits this year.”

Jasia’s favorite win this year was against Hobbs, because they run their mouth a lot, Jasia said.

“It meant everything to me,” Jasia said, “for us to go back-to-back. I’ve always had a passion for football and I feel like football was my life. To go back-to-back, I’ve been wanting to do that since I was a kid.”

At New Mexico Military Institute, look for Jasia to play on the offensive side of the ball. Once he’s done playing football, he would like to be a coach and teach kids how to make the most of their abilities in life.

“I need the structure,” Jasia stated, “and it’s the best way to get me to where I can reach my goals. Education is really well there at NMMI and that comes first.”

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.