When the Maxwell Wildcats take the field on Thursday to play Mullen, it will be their last game with Ryan Jones as football coach.

Jones has decided to step down as head football coach after the season. He will remain as the activities director and head wrestling coach for the school, as well as the coach of the baseball team they will be sharing with North Platte St. Pat’s starting this spring.

Jones said he is stepping down because of how time consuming coaching football is, especially with his other duties, and he felt it was in the best interest of his family.

Jones became the head football coach at Maxwell in 2007. In that first year, he guided the Wildcats to an undefeated regular season. They were upset by Wauneta-Palisade in the second round of the state playoffs that year.

But the following year, Maxwell made it to the state semifinals where they lost at home to Axtell.

In 2014, behind a monumental year by running back Jaylon Sturdivant, the Wildcats returned to the semifinals but lost again at home, this time to Anselmo-Merna on a bitterly cold night.

Those two state semifinal appearances are the furthest Maxwell has gone in the playoffs. Eight of the Wildcats’ state playoff appearances have come under Jones.

Another highlight of Jones’ tenure came in 2017, when Will Huffman rushed for an all-class state record 548 yards in Maxwell’s 72-42 win over arch-rival Brady.

Jones will leave with an overall record of 71-58, a playoff record of 10-8 and four district championships.

“Coach Jones will step down as the most successful football coach in the history of Maxwell Public Schools,” Maxwell superintendent Danny McMurtry said. “We were honored for 14 years to have him at the helm. We respect his decision and look forward to his continued contributions to our athletic department as both an athletic director as well as a head coach in both wrestling and baseball.”