In Play with Tom Markowski


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Jackson strikes early and often for West Bloomfield

By: Tom Markowski, October 17, 2014, 12:00 am

Rochester Hills – Trishton Jackson needs no introduction to those at West Bloomfield, and to others in Oakland County who have seen him compete on the basketball court and the football field.

But there are games in a high school athlete’s career that that people remember, that stays with you next year and years after.

Jackson had that type of game on Friday as he accounted for seven touchdowns and 466 yards in total offense as West Bloomfield overwhelmed host Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 54-29 in an Oakland Activities Association Red Division game.

Jackson, a 6-3, 190-pound junior, is playing his first full season as coach Ron Bellamy’s starting quarterback. Jackson has played the position before but now this is his team. And the Lakers are in good hands.

   “His freshman year on varsity, he wasn’t ready,” Bellamy said. “But we knew he would be our guy down the road. He had a setback last year. We played him at receiver. This is his first year playing quarterback every game.

“It’s a maturation process. He doesn’t get too up. He doesn’t get down. His first two years he felt like he had to make a big play every play. What he’s doing now, he’s taking care of the ball.”

He also took care of the Cougars (4-4). Stoney Creek coach Brad Zube said he hasn’t coached against a quarterback quite like Jackson. Some comparisons can be made to Clarkston’s D.J. Zezula, who also competes in the OAA Red. Zezula has more savvy and is also a dual threat quarterback but doesn’t possess Jackson’s athleticism.

  Jackson posted video game numbers against a team that still had hopes for a playoff spot. He completed 13 of 19 attempts for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson had 15 carries for 160 yards and four touchdowns. In the second half he had seven carries for 150 yards. Jackson scored on runs of two, seven, 45 and 65 yards. Jackson’s first pass attempt was a 46-yard touchdown pass to Michael King three minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead. King had two defenders beat by a stride and never broke stride as Jackson’s toss landed softly in his hands.

As well as Jackson has played this season, and West Bloomfield wouldn’t be 7-1 without him, even this performance took Bellamy a bit by surprise.  But Jackson? No, he wasn’t surprised. He said he could have accounted for three more touchdowns had he played better.

“It was OK,” Jackson said. “I could do better.”

No one can question he can’t. Nevertheless, Jackson was outstanding on this night. He did not commit a turnover and showed leadership skills most often seen from a senior, not a 16-year-old.

Before this season Jackson was considered by many as a basketball player who also played football. Has that changed? Jackson is a Division I prospect in both sports and soon, not next month or six months from now, he’ll make a decision whether to play football in college or basketball. But for now he’s a Laker and looking for his team to make a run in the state playoffs.

“I’m just having fun,” he said. “I’m not satisfied just making the playoffs. We just got to play (our style). When we play our game, we’re unstoppable. Tonight we made too many mistakes. We don’t play like that.”

West Bloomfield was assessed a half dozen personal foul/unsportsmanlike penalties that, in a closer game, could cost them.

Bellamy said the penalties “were the ugly part” of the win but that those mistakes can be fixed.

Regardless, this was a step forward for the Lakers and Jackson. The next step will be to win a playoff game, something West Bloomfield has never tasted.