Stoney Creek football team celebrates life of 9-year-old honorary team owner in Rochester Hills

Players carried No. 9 placards honoring Colling Jones, who died from cancer in December

Before the Stoney Creek Cougars took the field Thursday, the entire team in shirts and ties walked the perimeter of the field up to a peaceful spot on a hill that overlooks the stadium.
Before the Stoney Creek Cougars took the field Thursday, the entire team in shirts and ties walked the perimeter of the field up to a peaceful spot on a hill that overlooks the stadium.

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – Before the Stoney Creek Cougars took the field Thursday, the entire team in shirts and ties walked the perimeter of the field up to a peaceful spot on a hill that overlooks the stadium.

All the boys carried placards with the No. 9 on them.

“Stoney Creek High School is very honored that the Jones family got to share Collin with us in his final months,” said coach Nick Merlo.

Collin Jones was battling terminal cancer. The 9-year-old died this past December.

“My nephew, God rest his soul, his wish was unlike any other child you’ll come across,” said his uncle James Oppat. 

Collin told the family he wanted to be the owner of a professional football team. Everybody was pretty perplexed by the choice until he explained.

“He said, ‘Because I could bring a lot of money and with that money I could help all the kids that need help with all their medical bills,’ and it just brought everyone to their knees and tears that that came out of a 9-year-old soul,” Oppat said.

Merlo heard about the situation and the varsity squad stepped in.

“They made him the official owner of the Stoney Creek Cougars,” Oppat said.

Collin had his own owners box and he signed players contracts. His favorite number was nine. On Thursday night, the whole team carried No. 9 placards and dedicated what they’re calling “Collin’s Corner.”

A bench perched high over the field and is inscribed with what Collin told his players.

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