On Oneonta’s next possession, Jackson stepped in front a Crotser pass on the right sideline and returned the interception 55 yards for a touchdown, dragging Crotser the final 5 yards into the end zone.
“I read the quarterback’s eyes (on the interception),” said Jackson, a speedy junior who rushed 216 yards on 18 attempts. “I jumped in front of the ball and grabbed it.”
Jackson represented the one athlete for whom the Yellowjackets had no answer.
“I think last year we missed that home run threat,” said first-year SV coach Mike Ford, whose team improved to 2-1. “Having (Jackson) on the varsity makes a world of difference because he brings great hands, great speed, great defense and he’s a smart kid.”
Added Mushtare: “He’s shifty and he has that extra gear that when he gets in the open field, no one is going to catch him.”
Jackson played JV ball last season, but he said his teammates talked at halftime about how the Yellowjackets rallied in the second half last season to beat the Sabers, 38-26.
“Talking in the locker room kind of set a fire, because I guess last season they came back and won,” said Jackson, who also scored on a 37-yard run in the second quarter. “We weren’t going to let that happen this time, so we came out harder than the first half and just pushed until we got the victory.”
Defensively, in the first half the Yellowjackets made it difficult for SV. Seven times the Yellowjackets dropped SV ballcarriers for negative yardage. Defensive end Kirkland Dolan was in on several of those plays.
Also, Oneonta’s Josh Griffis intercepted a pair of Dave Matthews passes, the best coming on a leaping grab near the right sideline around the Yellowjackets’ 20.
But OHS’ offense generated next to nothing in the opening half while turning the ball over four times – three lost fumbles and one interception.