Jackson's season ends, still firm for Huskers

Leon Jackson has been left to scratch his head following his team's early exit from the playoffs this past week. With the game running down the play that was called just didn't seem to make send to Jackson.

Never in a million years would Leon Jackson have guessed that his season would end this way. It seemed that the work, effort and the team was destined to win state this year.

"I want to be honest, and I have to say that I am really upset. I think that we just gave up on it. We got so close. We were at the six yard line, about to score with :13 seconds left. We didn't have any timeouts left and we called a pass play."

When he says "we gave up", he isn't talking about himself or his teammates. He is talking about those that are supposed to be guiding them to a victory, the coaching staff.

"It has been said to us that the coaches didn't care if lose and they thought that we were going through the motions. We busted our butts to get back into a position to score. It was 28-23 and we were ready to run right at them and a pass play was called."

"Like I said in the newspaper, if we would have had a little more support that we would have won the game. They (the coaches) really didn't support us. They told us before the Bethel game that they were a great team and that we were just going through the motions."

"Our head coach for the last two days of practice for Bethel he just sat up in the stands and let the assistant coaches run practice. He didn't coach us those last two days. He just said that if we can take breaks that he can take breaks."

"The team just decided that they had to pick it up and had a team meeting. We talked about the effort and picked it up. We beat Bethel 70-28. The next week when we came back we felt we proved that we could play. When the coaches watched that film they were still upset at us about that game."

To Leon, the frustration from the coaches was a bit shocking. He noted the hard work and success that they have had on the field so far this season as evidence of their desire to be a great football team.

"We worked really hard that whole season. This team worked all summer. We ran bleachers, conditioned ourselves and lifted weights together. The loss upset us a lot. Tears weren't there, it was more of a frustration because we felt like the coaches gave up on us."

The disappointment of the season ending the way that it did and falling short of the state title has more than just the players disappointed. "Our whole town is really upset about our coaches. The coaches have really good records that I think that the fans and the town will just be upset with them."

"Seriously, we had the best team in the state. Skyline scored the most points on us this season and that was 28. The most beyond that was 14. We should have won last night. I had 18 caries for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Both of my touchdown runs were for over 60 yards and it was six yards between us and state and we passed the ball."

When Jackson committed to Nebraska it was not foreseen that both Pasco and Nebraska's seasons would end so suddenly and fall short of some goals. "My season went well. It was a blast. I wouldn't want to go through it with any other seniors. We are upset that it ended this way. With Nebraska, I'm anxious to get there. I want to see if I can help the team. I'm just ready. I'm ready."

The latest on USC pursuing Jackson is that there is nothing new on that subject. He hasn't heard anything from USC lately and isn't listening if they do. Most of the schools have backed off of Jackson since his commitment to Nebraska except one that he noted.

"Nothing new on USC. Is USC talking to me? Nope. Washington hasn't backed of me at all. They are slowly, but they are still nit-picking. I only took one official to Nebraska and to junior days at Washington and Washington State. That was enough for me."

What was enough about Nebraska? There really wasn't a basis for comparison, but maybe there didn't have to be. "It was just like home. Nebraska is just a bigger "tri-cities". Here at Pasco we have die-hard fans and they follow us wherever we go. We packed half of the dome in Seattle with our fans. That is something that Nebraska brings. Their die-hard fans, the tradition, the winning and that is what I want to get them back to."

When you talk about Jackson in the whole scope of being a nationally rated running back, among recruiting gurus he will most likely not be one of the first running backs mentioned. Statistically in the nation, there may not have been a more successful running back in the nation and he is still hoping to prove it in January and in college.

"I got a call from The Seattle Times, because I guess that I am one of the top running backs in the state. They asked me a question about Jonathon Stewart. I just answered that my town is smaller than his and he lives in the city. I live in a town that can get overlooked very easily. We're small. I'm not going to try and take anything away from him, but I am going to try and open up a lot of people's eyes to what I am all about. I've been trying increase my total yards this season. I was a little upset because I fell under 1800. I got 1814 last year as a junior with 38 touchdowns. I fell short with 1765 and 25 touchdowns after missing three games."

The games that he missed weren't due to injury. However, one was a disciplinary issue that really started out as him trying to be a peacemaker and then getting sucker-punched. "I missed games because I tried to break up a fight that one of my team mates was in. I ended up getting into it after I broke them up the other guy hit me in the back of the head. That got me fired up and I went after him. I got ejected and then suspended for another game."

"The third game I was getting checked out by the trainer because the week before I banged up my shoulder. I was getting looked at while pre-game was going on and came out to make the end of the pre-game. My coach said that I missed all of the pre-game so I wasn't going to see the field. I didn't understand it. I missed three minutes of pre-game. It got ridiculous. My father called my head coach to get him to aologize because the coach was just mad at me. In the newspaper they asked the coach why I didn't play and he said, 'Leon had some owies'."

"For people to read that about a football player they start thinking that he isn't very tough. My mom and dad got calls about the quote and what was going on with me. It finally got so big that my dad had to call the coach and the coach apologized to me. He said that he just got really mad and blew it out of proportion."

Jackson has a few key areas that he would like to work on before he gets to Nebraska. The skeptics don't believe that he will end up at Nebraska, but after hearing about someone special in his life that will be going to Nebraska too maybe that will change their minds.

"I'm going to get stronger. I'm going to run a lot of stairs and keep my technique up and get faster. Need to work on my endurance and get in shape. My fiancee is moving out there to Nebraska too. That is going to work out perfect. She had a blast with me on the official visit."

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