As a two-sport star at St. Frances, junior Jordan Toles had a one-of-a-kind experience last weekend that brought out the best in him on the hardwood and gridiron.
On Friday night, the then-No. 1 Panthers basketball team hosted No. 2 Mount Saint Joseph in the city’s biggest hoops game this season. The Panthers fell to the visiting Gaels, 74-63, but the starting forward had little time to fret.
Following the game, he immediately headed to the airport. The St. Frances football team, ranked No. 1 all season in The Baltimore Sun’s Top 15 poll, was heading to Georgia to take on state champion Lee County in the Geico State Champions Bowl Series. Toles, a starting safety, found redemption from the basketball loss, as the Panthers dominated the second half for a 43-14 win to cap a perfect 10-0 season.
Toles shared his thoughts with Varsity Letters on his unique, up-and-down two-day sports experience. Here’s what he had to say:
“Preparing for both football and basketball games were pretty tough on my body. To accomplish the task at hand, I didn’t want to waste any time preparing and working hard to be ready for both big games.
“Many people doubted my ability to perform in both games to my fullest abilities, which added fuel to my fire and motivation for my best to appear. Knowing both the football and basketball teams needed me to give them my all, my plan was to do exactly that.
“Last Friday night, we faced rival Mount Saint Joseph – that was one of the biggest rival basketball games in Baltimore City. Falling short to the talented Mount Saint Joe … gave me motivation to perform out of my mind in the upcoming fight against Lee County in Georgia.
“Rushing to the airport from the basketball game, all that was on my mind was bouncing back and becoming better in every way possible.
“After a one-hour, 30-minute flight, landing at 11 p.m., another two-hour drive to the hotel was ahead of me. Getting to the hotel around 1:30 a.m., I had limited time to rest until pre-game preparation for the upcoming battle that Saturday night.
“After hours of preparation, my team and I battled hard and to overcome adversity and pull out a win in the Geico Bowl for the second time against the hard play and talent of another top football team in the country.
“This experience [committing] to both teams was full of lessons and that benefited me more than most would understand and I felt I represented my city and state well.”