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story.lead_photo.caption Trinity Christian School's Matthew Jones, with parents Greg and Christi Jones, signs his national letter of intent to join East Texas Baptist University's inaugural lacrosse team this fall. (Submitted photo)

TEXARKANA, Ark. — The combination of great character, opportunity and work ethic is always a positive mixture for a student-athlete seeking success.

Trinity Christian School's Matthew Jones inked his national letter-of-intent to join the East Texas Baptist University's lacrosse team.

"It feels great, it's like a dream come true," Jones said. "I'm excited for the opportunity to compete on the next level."

Although lacrosse isn't offered as a sport at TCS, Jones' athleticism on the Warrior football team was enough for the Tiger coaching staff to offer Jones the opportunity to continue his athletic career.

"Well, I was looking at ETBU for football and they said the only option at this point would be to gray shirt," Jones said. "I looked up the lacrosse route and I reached out to Coach (Alain) Savage and he offered me a scholarship to join the lacrosse team. I accepted it.

"I mostly played football growing up but I have some lacrosse experience."

ETBU will participate in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association, in the Lone Star Alliance comprised of 11 Division I teams and 27 Division II teams representing Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. ETBU will face a majority of the Division II teams but their schedule also includes Centenary, Louisiana Tech, Trinity, Louisiana-Lafayette, Hardin-Simmons, Baylor, Dallas Baptist, Abilene Christian, Oklahoma State, and Rice.

Jones hopes his signing will leave a lasting impact on the Warrior athletes that will come after him.

"I hope other kids will see that it's not too far out of reach if they want to go play college sports," Jones said. "If they put in the work and keep looking for opportunities. They'll be there.

"My parents will be able to come visit me a little more, as opposed to if I were going somewhere further away. I think they're happy with my decision but I know they are happy I'll be playing sports in college."

This will be the sixth new sport added at ETBU in the last four years.

"I'm ready to get there and get on campus," Jones said. "I want to take care academics, then play some lacrosse. Hopefully, we'll be able to win a championship."

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