Jackson ready to lift Country Day to great heights

Ernie Jackson's main focus for 2003 will be running a new offense and trying to lead Detroit Country Day to a state football title. But the Yellowjackets 6-foot-3, 195-pound quarterback could also be eventually looking at a Division I college career if he enjoys a banner season.

Jackson is coming off a 2002 season when he passed for 1,800 yards. One of his best games came against a talented Orchard Lake St. Mary team when he was 13-of-18 in passing for 252 yards and four touchdowns.

"During the summer, I spent a lot of time working out with my team and we spent a lot of time in the weight room," he said. "Our team has improved as a whole. We have a new no-huddle offense. It will be a lot different from last year. That should increase my passing and rushing statistics."

The no-huddle offense is a challenge Jackson is ready to take.

"It will all rest upon me," he said. ‘Since I'm calling the plays, it will be up to me to read the defenses."

Experience, Jackson said, will make him a better quarterback.

"I started as a sophomore so it's not that big of a deal for me," he said. "My passing skills have improved. I'll get into the groove easier. Last year, we might run the ball six to seven times before I threw it once.This year, I'll be able to set up the defense more. I'll be able to throw the ball more. I had all those yards last year and threw the ball just 160 times."

Jackson has narrowed his college choices to three with Cincinnati and Northwestern University being in the top two and Colorado being his third choice.

"Of all the possibilities, those are the three I'm concentrating on," he said.

But in the meantime, he's concentrating on taking the Yellowjackets to the state finals Thanksgiving weekend at the Pontiac Silverdome.

"We have the best team in the state by far," he said. "We'll have a lot of speed. We have the experience on the line but we don't quite have the size. But we'll make up for it in speed. The line we have will improve.

"Last year, we made it to the state regional finals. We want to go all the way this time."

The key throughout the season, Jackson said, will be to not hold back on a team and go for the jugular right away.

"We'll try to jump on teams right away this year," he said.

Country Day coach Dan MacLean is anxious to put his more explosive offense, led by Jackson, on the field this year.

"He was all-state last year and made our offense go," Mac Lean said. "Ernie makes our offense go."

But Mac Lean strongly believes the best of Ernie Jackson is yet to come.

"We'll have more of a spread-out offense this year,' he said. ‘We're going to utilize what we've got. We've got a great group of receivers."

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