But now I'm ready.
When the announcements were made by VirginiaPreps.com and TimesDispatch.com (two separate awards, the latter done on coaches voting), the immediate reaction with regards to Hanover County was very quick and very sharp.....
"Why isn't Morris Jackson on the first team??"
The Atlee senior tailback, who was hurt in 2011, as well as down on the depth chart behind senior Jarred Hall, flew very, very low under the radar coming into the regular season. In his own county there was much more buzz surrounding Hanover's L.J. Jones, coming off an 1,800 yard season in 2011, and the Lee-Davis tandem of Deshaun Rogers and Chris Simpson.
But after Jackson scored two touchdowns in Atlee's opening week win over Deep Run, he followed it up with his coming out party in Ashland, rushing for seven touchdowns and 284 yards in Atlee's 56-35 win over Patrick Henry. Jackson was on his way to a season where, in only nine games, he would rush for 2,029 yards, scoring an amazing 33 touchdowns, averaging over 3.5 touchdowns PER GAME.
Surely this type of explosive, consistent performance should earn Jackson First Team All-Region honors, even in a crowded race of deserving hopefuls, right?
Paul Robertson of L.C. Bird grabbed one of the two VirginiaPreps running back slots and one of three from the Times Dispatch. Although Robertson has had a legendary run in the playoffs, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards against the likes of Hermitage, Varina and Oakton, he finished the regular season over 200 yards behind Jackson, and, now through 13 games, has still scored two less touchdowns that Jackson did in 9 games.
We understand that post-season is taken into consideration by these award presenters, and don't begrudge Robertson his accolades.
Our contention is simple: Based on performance, Morris Jackson should have been named first team All-Region running back.....and not Derrick Green of Hermitage.
Sacrilege, you say? I expect to be a "lone wolf" in this defense and have no problem with that. But consider the following....
1) Green had 21 touchdowns, Jackson had 33.
2) Green was taken out of the second half of many games, while Jackson was not.
3) Green had the benefit of playing on a team with a good defense. Jackson did not, and, subsequently, found himself the spotlight in several track meets.
4) Green finished the regular season average 130 yards a game, Jackson averaged 225.4, nearly 100 yards MORE than Green.
Green played well, very well, this year for a 10-0 district champion. But, in my view, some of the accolades being given to Green are also because of everything else surrounding his impressive senior season. Few kids in the Central Region begin their final football season playing on Friday, then hopping on jets to places like Oregon, Auburn, and Michigan for Saturday football games. But that's what Green experienced, and deservedly so.
But, the bottom line is, although Green's recruitment has helped keep the U.S. Postal Service solvent, while Jackson has been continually passed by, Jackson's numbers are simply more productive.
Could Green have broken 2,000 yards by playing 40 quarters? Maybe. But remember, Morris did it in 36, missing one game.
So, had yours truly had a vote in all this, Morris Jackson, and not Derrick Green, would have earned All-Region First Team.
Does that mean Jackson is better than Green? No. It means he had a season more worthy of a first-team honor. Green's collegiate career may far outshine Jackson's, but that's not our concern here. Our concern here is 2012 on the field, and, in my view, 2,029 yards and 33 touchdowns in NINE games, constantly being asked to help a team with defensive woes stay in games, those are characteristics worthy of first-team honors.
In closing, Atlee fans.....Imagine the 2012 offense with the 2011 defense.......you're smiling, aren't you?
CONGRATS TO THE FOLLOWING RECOGNIZED AS ALL-REGION:
WR: Travis Phillips, Patrick Henry (Sr.)
TE: Chad Jacob, Atlee (Sr.)
ATH: Sam Rogers, Hanover (Sr.)
DL: Donald Kidd, Lee-Davis (Jr.)
RB: Morris Jackson, Atlee (Sr.)
RB: Morris Jackson, Atlee (Sr.)
RB: Chris Simpson, Lee-Davis (Sr.)
WR: Donte Haynesworth, Hanover (Sr.)
OL: Josh Hutto, Hanover (Sr.)
OL: Russell Munn, Lee-Davis (Sr.)
LB: David Crytser, Hanover (Sr.)
TIMESDISPATCH.COM (Coaches Voting):
WR: Travis Phillips, Patrick Henry
RB: Chris Simpson, Lee-Davis
Utility: Sam Rogers, Hanover
DL: Donald Kidd, Lee-Davis
OL: Josh Hutto, Hanover
OL: Russell Munn, Lee-Davis
TE: Chad Jacob, Atlee
WR: Donte Haynesworth, Hanover
RB: Morris Jackson, Atlee
RB: LJ Jones, Hanover (Sr.)
LB: David Crytser, Hanover
LB: Sam Rogers, Hanover
So, a 18 year old shows a little emotion after not being included on the 1st Team All-Region squad. My heavens! The shame of showing a little emotion. 2,000+ yards in 9 games is amazing, especially when you add in a QB who threw for more than 2,200. That QB should have been given some consideration for All-Region as well. The Atlee QB and Varina QB tied for 1st Team honors. Unfortunately, in the tie-breaking vote, the neighboring county head coaches chose to vote for the Varina QB. 2,200+ yards throwing and 20 TD passes, versus 1,700 TOTAL yards and 6 TD passes.
All-in-all though, the season was exciting.
weather Derrick Green had to sit out half his games isn't relevant in the discussion. Its play on the field that should matter, not reputation or "what if's" Morris had the best year of any running back in the region and as such deserved the honor. Along the same line its kinda surprising that none of his offensive lineman made any of the all region teams. They were outstanding all season long.
Anyway thanks for the thought provoking article.
Morris Jackson deserved to be on that all-region team,I'm not going to compare him to any of the other players though because all you need to know is how much h helped his team Atlee having Morris Jackson in their backfield made their whole Offense better. Jackson took a lot of the pressure off of their Quarterback Kenner Berry who had a stellar season. With Morris freeing up Kenner from the opposing Defenses it led to Chad Jacobs having a breakout season and at the end of the season led the Region in receiving as a Tight End. Yes, all three of these players had outstanding years especially Morris Jackson but absolutely none of this would be possible with out the unbelievable play of their Offensive Line. They played as a unit every game and not one Defense gave them a problem. Everytime they came off of the field you could see the chemistry between them just by the way they are talking to each other and having fun with each of their game in which I think they truly enjoyed blocking for Morris and Kenner.. This is why I believe Atlee had one of the top Offensive Lines in the state along with one of the best offenses in the state. So Morris Jackson's impact on the team was no only his stats but what he did to help the rest of the offense. This is why I think no only Morris Jackson deserved to be on the 1st Team All-Region but also Kenner Berry and Chad Jacob.
I have a son at Liberty so i would not consider myself to have any bias for Atlee but I went to a lot of their games just to watch their exciting offense, and I know that some kids didn't get what they deserved.
I appreciate the time you took to listen to my opinion
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