The huge scoreboard at Royal-Memorial Stadium showed the North lost to the South, 48-21 in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star game Tuesday night.
But Sulphur Springs all-star wide receiver No. 2 on the North roster, Jace Jackson, left the game with a very positive, almost uplifting feeling. Even with the scoreboard saying he was on the losing side. The 6-2 sure-handed receiver caught a lot of good memories from the game and days of practicing and bonding with his teammates in practice.
Jackson enjoyed the entire experience. It meant he had to play outside receiver, not in the slot. He returned kickoffs, was a messenger from the coach with the plays and even held for the kicker on three successful extra points. He had three total receptions and 32 yards in the game.
Jackson said he was in about 65 percent of the plays for the North offense.
“It was great and I was kind of worried about how I would do,” Jackson said with a laugh. “As it turned out, I wasn’t even nervous. I just decided to play hard and have a good time and I did. I was in good shape. The offense we used was a lot slower than the NASCAR offense we ran in high school. I could actually catch my breath or get a drink between plays.”
Jackson said one of the lasting memories he made at the game was his 9-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Carson Meger with 9:32 left in the game.
“The coach told me to run a curl. What I really did ran was about a 10-yard stop and the ball was there and the quarterback made a good throw,” Jackson said. “I was open and I caught the ball.”
The catch reminded Jackson of his final game for Sulphur Springs when he made 10 grabs for 203 yards and two scores in the 69-49 win over Dayton in the state title game.
Jackson said the all-star game was a special memory, one he shared with his family and Sulphur Springs coaches.
“I had a lot of friends and family at the game,” Jackson said. “Coach Owens and a lot of other Sulphur Springs coaches were down in Austin. That meant a lot to me for them to be there and I could share the experience.”
Jackson continued, “The whole experience, even practicing was a lot of fun. To get to be on the field with the top players in the state, no doubt I will remember it forever.”
Sulphur Springs head coach football Greg Owens said Jackson had a good performance.
“All-star games are a little different that people think,” Owens said. “It is hard for players to mesh when they come in and get in a new system. He did some good things, ran on a kickoff return, had a touchdown catch.”
Owens continued, “I played in one of these all-star games and it’s a great memory. First, it is a big honor to be chosen for the game. Then you get to play with and against the best. Jace made some memories he will always have from this game.”
Jackson added, “I feel like I am ready now to go play football at Sam Houston, my high school career is over. Some of the guys in the game will not be playing in college. I am lucky enough to get play in college.”
NOTES — The North lost the game, but they hold a 39-30-6 overall lead in the series. It was the 75th annual all-star game held. It was the first game played on the new artificial turf at Royal-Memorial Stadium at the University of Texas. The game will be replayed at 2 p.m. Saturday on FSSW.
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