In the biggest moment of the most-anticipated high school football game of the season, Jordan Jackson of Freeport rose up to seize it.
This was last weekend in the Long Island Class I Championship game between the undefeated Red Devils and undefeated Floyd at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. Freeport had grabbed a 20-13 lead on Justin Lescouflair’s 58-yard touchdown run only to see the Colonials answer with a 31-yard touchdown pass and lined up for the extra-point attempt.
“I had no doubt that I was going to block it,” said Jackson, who’d already blocked a pair this season and this week was named to Newsday’s all-Long Island first team. “We’d gotten close on the first two extra points and just missed. I had to believe.”
He raced from the edge for the block and Freeport held on to complete a perfect 12-0 season at the LIC.
“We pointed at the scoreboard and yelled ‘you’ve got to block it’ and he got there,” Freeport coach Russ Cellan said. “What an athlete. We’d just given up a big play and he answered for us.”
Jackson was also the opener and closer on the victory. He caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Terrance Edmond for the game’s first points and he intercepted Mack Driver and raced with the ball until time expired on the final play.
“It’s a team full of big-play makers and he is definitely one of them,” Cellan said.
The coach explained that Division I colleges with scholarships to offer have been getting in touch in recent weeks – “almost like a new one every day now,” he said – though he wasn’t sure at the end of last season whether that was in Jackson’s future.
“He didn’t seem ‘all-in’ a year ago, but he stepped on the gas in the offseason,” Cellan said. “He came out guns blazing and never let up this year. He’s a physical defensive back, loves the game and is a good student – there is no downside to him.”
Jackson finished the season with three receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown, yet was his best on defense where he broke up 17 passes and was in on 25 tackles.
He was especially good in the postseason. In the Nassau I title game his play in the secondary – often one-on-one against Oceanside’s all-Long Island wideout Jake Lazzaro – helped ground the Sailors’ vaunted air attack. His encore was the outstanding performance in the LIC.
“We have a team full of weapons and it seems like everyone has his week,” Jackson said. “This was my week.”