Jamarri Jackson feared the worst.
His first carry of the season, in a preseason scrimmage against Fairfield, left the Christian Brothers High School senior on the turf, clutching his right knee. His career flashed in front of him. It can’t end like this, can it?
The diagnosis eased the anxiety: an MCL strain. Jackson was slowed early in the season, much like his team, but he has found his fifth gear again, and one of the fastest players in Northern California bolted into the record books on Friday night at historic Hughes Stadium.
Taking a pitch from Tyler Vander Waal 2 yards in the end zone, Jackson broke free and was gone: a 99-yard touchdown sprint in a 40-7 victory over Rio Americano to keep the Falcons’ Capital Athletic League championship hopes alive.
That run ties Jackson for the longest from scrimmage in football history – at any level – as one cannot go farther than 99 yards. The humble Jackson knew he had it in him, but he had no idea of the significance.
“It was definitely exciting, and that’s crazy to know it ties a record, so that makes me feel all the more proud that all the hard work is paying off,” Jackson said.
The work continues. Jackson, a strong 5-foot-10, 175-pounder, ices his knee daily. He no longer wears a knee brace for support. He praises his teammates and coaches. He prides himself on being a good student and character on the storied CBS campus. And the frown amid the slow start has been replaced by a broad grin.
Under famed coaches Dan Carmazzi and Dave Hoskins, CBS has won five consecutive games after an 0-2 start.
Jackson has fielded recruiting interest from Hawaii, Nevada, Eastern Washington and Wyoming, though he admits the process is “a frustrating struggle” despite his talent and grades. Jackson is discovering the sobering reality of recruiting: Tens of thousands of high school players across the country seek the hundreds of available scholarships.
“I’ll just keep working hard, because that’s all I can do,” Jackson said.
And running fast.
A peek at the area’s all-time 99-yard runs through Bee and Cal-Hi Sports archives:
▪ Jim Koehler, Galt vs. Sutter Creek, 1953.
▪ Allen Nicholas, La Sierra vs. Bella Vista, 1961.
▪ Scott Linde, Jesuit vs. South Tahoe, 1971.
▪ Scott Wildermood, Lincoln vs. Folsom, 1980.
▪ Damen Wheeler, Valley vs. Grant, 1995.
▪ Kevin Tennerson, Mesa Verde vs. Encina, 1998.
▪ Brian Hanson, Del Oro vs. Elk Grove, 2004.
▪ Marcel Brown, Rio Linda vs. Ponderosa, 2013.
▪ Jamarri Jackson, Christian Brothers vs. Rio Americano, 2016.
More Carmazzi – Carmazzi, a head football coach in this region since 1981, will be inducted into the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame on Sunday night at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento.
There isn’t a classier or kinder coach than Carmazzi, a winner of 252 games. Carmazzi transformed a sagging Jesuit program into a powerhouse, winning nine league titles, guiding 17 playoff teams, winning two section championships and relishing coaching sons Dominic, Gio and Matt.
Carmazzi returned to CBS, his alma mater, in 2012, where he is molding his third successive playoff team.
The only other area coaches to win at least 200 games are Mike Alberghini of Grant (268 wins and counting) and retired Max Miller (264), Frank Negri (248), Ed Lombardi (235) and finally, Terry Logue of Bear River (217 wins and counting).