Know your foe: Jackson talent pipeline keeps flowing
At some point, the talent at the disposal of Coach Andy Hall’s Jackson Ironmen has to have some kind of a drop off, right?
Hall, in his 12th season as Jackson grid boss, has amassed an amazing 92-30 overall record including a respectable 5-7 mark in the OHSAA playoffs. His team reached the regional final in 2015 and he’s coached three teams to 10-0 regular seasons.
Despite, or maybe because of, that success the talent pipeline continues to be very strong for the Ironmen.
Evan Spires (6-0, 210, junior) will lineup in the backfield as a running back but also can see time at quarterback.
The skill positions are a strength for the Welshmen. Tristan Prater (6-0, 185, junior) and Nate McManaway (6-4, 185, senior) were reliable pass catchers last fall. Adding to that talented group are Drew Bragg (6-1, 185, junior) who took last year off, speedy freshman Cade Wolford (5-9, 170), Macon Perrill (6-0, 180, senior), and Holden Blankenship (5-9, 150, junior).
But the top pass catcher is West Virginia University commit tight end Treylan Davis (6-5, 240, senior). Davis has outstanding leaping ability in addition to his 6-5 frame.
Up front, the red and white hope to shake off injuries that have plagued them during the preseason. Trent Evans (6-1, 225, sophomore) and David Norris (5-10, 225, sophomore) are expected to start at tackle with Grant Mastin (6-0, 220, junior) and Blake Cross (5-10, 225, senior) playing at guard, and Caleb McGraw (5-10, 190, sophomore) playing center.
Defensively Jackson has been quick and suffocating under Hall, and 2020 looks to be a continuation of that track record. The Ironmen line up in a 3-4 defense that features undersized but quick defensive linemen and stout, physical, and disruptive linebackers.
Up front Davis, Ty Jones (5-11, 175, junior), and Aden Strawser (5-11, 225, senior) are favorites to start with McGraw, Brayden Powell (5-9, 190, sophomore), and Brendon Webb (5-8, 150, junior) adding depth.
At linebacker, Mastin and Landon Erwin (6-3, 200, senior) are inside linebackers while Spires and Bragg play outside. Davis and Brodie Butcher (5-8, 180, sophomore) may also see time at linebacker.
In the secondary, Prater and Perrill are the corners while McManaway and Winters play safety. Winters is a physical presence while patrolling centerfield as the free safety. Blankenship will also play in the secondary.
Prater will handle the punting chores while Isaac Kuhn (5-9, 160, senior) will do the placekicking.