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Freeport's Jayvian Allen and Jaidan Jackson win state 7A football championship in Georgia

Jaidan Jackson of Grayson High School in Georgia

Jaidan Jackson of Grayson High School in Georgia jumps for joy after winning the state 7A title. Credit: Jackson Family


Very few high school athletes get the chance to win three consecutive team championships. Now think about winning three straight titles on two different teams in different states.

Count Freeport football players Jayvian Allen and Jaidan Jackson among those who have achieved such a feat.

With high school football in the fall of 2020 postponed in New York State because of the coronavirus pandemic — Long Island expects to start football in March — Allen and Jackson transferred to Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia, to get their game on.

Then Freeport’s two-time defending Long Island Class I champions punctuated their high school experience with a state 7A title in Georgia.

Allen said in September that his goal was to win a state title and close his career with three straight crowns, albeit with two different schools. That achievement was realized Wednesday night when he scored three first-half touchdowns to lead Grayson to a 38-14 win over Collins Hill and the state’s 7A title in Atlanta’s Parc Stadium.

Grayson finished 14-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state’s largest classification. The Rams are ranked third nationally.

Allen and Jackson closed the book on high school football with 38 consecutive wins, having never lost at the varsity level.

"Thirty-eight wins in a row is something to be extremely proud of, just top-shelf commitment and work," said Jackson, who starred at nose tackle. "I got used to winning all the time in Freeport. Going to Georgia was a challenge but my mindset was to be one of the best players and get college looks. Grayson was a great experience, and the competition was excellent."

In the biggest game of the year, Allen — who started all 14 games at safety and led Grayson in tackles with 96 — was called on to carry the ball because starting halfback Phil Mafah, a Clemson commit, was injured early in the playoff run.

Allen responded with touchdown runs of 13, 2 and 3 yards to lead the Rams to a 35-0 halftime lead.

"I did whatever was asked of me to contribute," he said. "The three-peat was always personal for me. It brings me back to Freeport and playing with all my boys and coaches. I came to Georgia to earn a spot and prove I could play."

The 5-8, 177-pound Allen’s first TD run went over right tackle and gave Grayson a 13-0 lead. His next two scores went over left tackle in the second quarter.

His lead blocker? That would be Jackson.

"We call the package Jumbo Juice and I go in at tight end and we blast the end and linebacker," said Jackson, who is 6-3, 270 pounds. "They’re monster blocks."

Allen played the boundary on defense and blanketed Collins Hill’s talented receivers in the final. He made his fourth interception of the year and knocked down two passes, one in the end zone, intended for Florida State commit Travis Hunter.

"Jayvian is quick," Jackson said. "He closes well on the ball and no one tackles better in the open field."

The national attention helped give Jackson and Allen needed exposure for college.

"Jayvian got an offer from Tennessee Tech," said his father, Kevin Allen, who attended the game with family. "They talked to the head coach and I know Jayvian is elated."

Jackson had an offer from Virginia Tech earlier in the week and is juggling a few offers, including a possible return to Long Island to play for Stony Brook, where his brother Jordan is a current standout.

"The new offers are exciting," Jackson said. "Having the chance to play against four- and five-star recruits was the key to opening those doors. We moved here so I could play football and it was the best decision of my life."

The decision to transfer was made easier for both players by former Freeport teammate Victoine Brown, who had moved to Loganville in 2018 and has committed to Louisville. The 6-3, 220-pound senior defensive end told them Grayson was like Freeport in many ways.

"He told us we could definitely play but the competition was much better," Allen said. "Winning the LIC is one thing but winning a state title is a big difference."

Freeport head coach Russ Cellan was joined by assistant coach Jimmy Jones and Baldwin director of athletics Ed Ramirez to watch the telecast of the game with their wives at Cellan's house. The game was live-streamed on Facebook.

"Obviously, those guys had the confidence to go down to Georgia and put it all on the line for a chance to play their senior year," Cellan said. "And the way things look up here, it may be the best decision of their lives. I am so proud of them."

Said Ramirez, "I think those guys proved we’ve got some really good football players up here in Long Island. They represented very well in every regard. I’m sure Coach Cellan was swelling with pride because these players had such a solid foundation from the Freeport program."

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