Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 | 1:44 a.m.
He trotted in front of the Falcons, leading them toward their destination. But Jackson stopped short of the locker room and gathered a few deep breaths, a necessity after amassing 39 touches for 254 yards and four touchdowns in the first home game of his senior year.
“I’m feeling great,” Jackson huffed. “I’d do this again if I could, to be honest.”
Foothill surely hopes he gets the opportunity for the rest of the season. The Falcons marched behind Jackson to capture their largest margin of victory in the Victory Bell game in more than a decade.
Vicious wind gusts forced Foothill to abandon its typically balanced attack and emphasize the run game against Silverado. Jackson carried the ball on 17 of the team’s first 21 plays, with his workload only seeing a minor decrease from there.
“He’s our guy for sure, so we expect him to be able do that when we need him to,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said.
Jackson felt obligated to get the Falcons’ season in line after they went to Utah and lost their season opener 50-6 last week. He wasn’t the only senior captain with the mindset.
Cornerback Devin Smith played with the same urgency, intercepting two passes while shutting down top Silverado receiving target Devion Clayton in the first half. After scoring rushes of 17 and 65 yards from Jackson, Smith returned his second interception 28 yards for a touchdown to put Foothill up 28-7 at halftime.
“I felt really good about scoring there right before the half,” Redmond said. “I thought that was a huge momentum thing.”
Stretching through the third quarter, Foothill scored 38 unanswered points after Silverado briefly led 7-0 to start the game. The Skyhawks converted on a short field after a botched Falcons punt, with quarterback Micah Weber running for a touchdown on a 29-yard scramble.
Foothill wouldn’t let Silverado near the end zone again until the fourth quarter, with its linebacking corps controlling the game. Senior Jared Young stuffed repeated runs in between the tackles.
Although Weber finished with 79 rushing yards on nine carries, the rest of Silverado’s rushers accounted for 20 yards on 15 attempts.
Junior Kaelii Maruyama provided a ruthless pass rush, slipping his compact 5-foot-9 frame through the offensive line en route to four sacks and a handful of hurries.
“He looks a little small out there, but he’s a great athlete,” Redmond said. “He’s all over the place for us.”
Also, Foothill’s kicker, Maruyama, booted through a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter. Jackson bullied his way in for a two-yard touchdown on the Falcons’ next possession, but then the Skyhawks appeared to awaken.
Staring at a 31-point deficit, Weber began throwing downfield to success. He recorded the bulk of his 189 yards on 19-for-38 passing in the final 10 minutes.
Weber found both Clayton, who had six catches for 79 yards on the night, and Evan Tafoya, four catches for 41 yards, for late touchdowns and trimmed the score to 38-22 with three minutes to go.
Jackson exterminated Silverado’s bleak chance at a comeback when he burst through the line for a 46-yard touchdown on his final attempt of the night.
“I did what I had to do,” Jackson said. “All over the board, we played our hearts out tonight.”