JACKSON ROUTS PERRY IN FEDERAL LEAGUE OPENER
The Jackson High School football team improved to 3-1 overall by defeating Perry 38-7 Friday nightin a contest that served as the Federal League opener for both teams. The Purple Army jumped to a 17-0 first quarter lead and never looked back in a dominant performance that was easily its best of the season.
“We played up to our potential tonight,” Polar Bears coach Tim Budd said. “That’s what had been frustrating about the first three weeks. Even though we won two games, we had more than we were giving. To put a whole game together—it’s a good start in the Federal League.”
Senior quarterback Jaret Pallotta was firing on all cylinders, as he calmly dissected the Panther defense by completing 26 of 39 passes for 389 yards and four touchdowns. Pallotta, who will attend the University of Massachusetts on a football scholarship next fall, had plenty of help from his receiving corps. Senior Brandon O’Quinn, who battled a back injury in 2016, caught 13 passes for 249 yards, and that total includes touchdowns of 53 and 60 yards, respectively.
Senior captain Nick Shatrich got the scoring started with an 11 yard underneath rout early in the opening period, and Jake Ryan broke a tackle and scored from 27 yards out to provide the final margin with the only score of the second half.
““(Perry) does a really nice job of rerouting and running with receivers vertically,” Budd said. “The last couple weeks we’ve hit some vertical seams, so we thought maybe we could get them to run out and we could hit some people underneath. It was great for Nick Shatrich to get that first touchdown. He hasn’t played much offense, and I think that really gave us an emotional spark.”
Perry, which had averaged 6.3 yards per carry in easy wins over admittedly inferior opponents, was limited to just 151 yards on 36 carries, a 4.2 average. Although the Panthers racked up over 300 yards of offense, much of that came with the game already out of reach.
“We(stunk), and we may not win another Federal League game if we don’t fix it,” Perry coach Keith Wakefield said. “I know that look when I see it in kids eyes, and it wasn’t good. I think our kids were worried about how big (Jackson) was and all that stuff. I didn’t feel like our kids felt they could come out and play real well. I don’t know why. We’ll start fixing that Monday.”
Much of Wakefield’s frustration came as a result of Jackson’s defensive effort, and that’s a good sign for their head coach.
“I thought we had a good chance(to win) if we threw the ball well, but defensively we grew up quite a bit,” Budd said. “We were definitely aggressive and physical. When you get the defensive effort we had where we’re actually hitting people and taking them to the ground, I think there’s something to build on.”
JACKSON BASEBALL TEAM GETS CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS
Jackson fans received an extra special treat at halftime of Friday’s contest when players and coaches from last Spring’s Division I state championship baseball team were presented with their championship rings.
“Experiencing (a state championship) in 2014 and being able to experience that with this group, it’s something they’ll never be able to take away from them for the rest of their lives,” coach Bill Gamble said. “They’re going to be in that elite group. I asked they players not what they wanted to get out of the season, but what were they willing to give up. You saw the sacrifices they made for each other out on the field. That’s what made them elite, and that’s why they’re state champions.”