A big improvement
Offseason training has helped make Langston Jackson a powerful presence for Simi Valley
By Loren Ledin, lledin@VenturaCountyStar.com October 3, 2006
Throughout the summer, when he wasn't practicing with the Simi Valley High football team or playing with the Pioneers' basketball squad, Langston Jackson invariably could be located in the weight room.
Huffing and puffing, piling up lifts and repetitions, Jackson got bigger, stronger, tougher.
"I tried to work hard, the whole team worked hard," said the 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior. "Everybody got into lifting weights. We all showed some leadership."
Jackson shouldering a load is wholly appropriate, since that has become his role with the Pioneers football team.
On an offense that returned just two starters, Simi Valley counts on Action Jackson for yards, touchdowns and inspiration.
From fullback a year ago, and a change-of-pace option behind a senior-dominated cast that included tailback Devin Kelley and wide receiver Lorne Bell, Jackson is now the leading man.
Head coach Todd Borowski compares his junior running back to Moorpark High standout Darrell Scott.
"I think he's just like (Scott)," said Simi Valley's second-year coach. "What we don't have is the veteran, experienced offensive line to open up the holes for him. Our young guys up front know that's the challenge they face this year. If we can just get the defense blocked, Jackson will have a big year."
So far, with the record at 2-2 overall and 0-1 in league following the 28-19 loss in the Marmonte League opener to Agoura, Simi Valley's offense remains a work in progress. But Jackson is in the midst of a breakout season.
Through four weeks, he's second only to Scott among league rushers with 470 yards, five touchdowns and a 6.0 average per carry.
As Simi Valley's No. 1 threat, he's also first in the minds of opposing defensive coordinators. Agoura, for example, made stopping Jackson the headline on the chalkboard.
Jackson doesn't mind the attention.
"It just makes me work harder," he said. "It's kind of a compliment, if the defenses want to focus on me. There's more room for the rest of our players."
Actually, Jackson established his skills last year in becoming the rare sophomore to start on both sides of the football.
He was a linebacker on defense, racking up 41 tackles and notching a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown against Newbury Park. At fullback, he finished with 411 rushing yards.
Borowski said Jackson's play garnered the attention of several collegiate programs. At the Ventura County Coaches Combine last May, Jackson wasn't yet eligible to participate in the juniors-only event. But his game tapes were on display for college coaches.
"Everybody was interested," said Borowski. "One coach asked me not to show the tape to anybody else."
With graduation revamping his squad, Borowski made the decision to remove Jackson from his defensive duties and install him as the centerpiece on offense.
"I've always been a running back, from when I first started playing in youth football," he said. "I like being in the middle of the action."
Though the quiet Jackson is as unassuming as a priest, he's also as competitive as a used-car salesman.
That's what happens when your twin brother Lorne is also a top-notch athlete.
Lorne, in fact, is such a talented basketball player that he opted to forego football this year.
"We're both pretty competitive," Langston said with a grin. "That keeps both of us going."
Following the football season, Langston will join his brother on the Pioneer basketball team.
At least now basketball coach Christian Aurand doesn't have too much trouble telling the brothers apart.
"Langston has gotten pretty big and strong," said Aurand. "All that weightlifting."
Copyright 2006, Ventura County Star. All Rights Reserved.
What people are saying!
Crash The Boards Football Nice Article In Star about Jackson
WestlakeHomer Moderator(10/12/06 4:37:55 am)
Sometimes when you have a good offense it makes the defenses look bad.Credit Coach and his Staff in the booth for doing a good job with the play calling. They are on the beam for sure this Season. Actually I checked the stats and Simi is not a bad team. Their run game will give the Warriors a big time test to help them stop the likes of Mr. Scott, Matt Bradley, John Lister,and Taylor Malm. Langston Jackson is having a very good year but one dimensional teams are much easier to stop than the diversified offenses. Westlake has some good linebackers which is necessary to stop the run game. This week is homecoming and it will be crazier than usual at Warrior Stadium.
bruin2012 Registered Member(10/3/06 6:24:38 am)
Nice Article In Star about Jackson
I posted a few weeks back that I thought Langston Jackson may be the 2nd best back in Marmonte. From all I've heard he's a great kid with an excellent work ethic. I've seen both Simi home games and the kid runs hard on every play. His line is young and still somewhat under sized. Next year Simi should have a very good team. They will hang tough with just about every team in the Marmonte this season. If the better teams take them likely they will be in a for a rude awakening. Nothing better than Friday night high school games in the Marmonte.
YouShouldHaveThatLookedAt Registered Member(10/3/06 8:28:32 am)
One Word About Simi:
07Lance Registered Member(10/4/06 8:55:43 am)Re: Nice Article In Star about Jackson
It was a nice article. I also noticed Ryan Campbell was named Ventura County Star of the week. Did he really play that well? How does Westlake look. we play them in two weeks.
Seraph4Ever Registered Member(10/4/06 6:29:29 pm)
Re: Nice Article In Star about Jackson
I'm going to take some heat on this but I'm throwing it out there...Michael Lee is still one of the best RB's in the Northern Division. He has 100+ yard against Hart, Canyon, SP, OC & Crespi. Scott, Jackson, Lewis and the RB from Oxnard (sorry I can't remember his name) are very good, and I don't have anything negative to say about them. But Lee, he just doesn't get the attention because of his size, but he runs with the best of them.
simihomer Registered Member(10/4/06 6:49:46 pm)
Re: Nice Article In Star about Jackson
Seraph...I agree with you, but Lee did get some nice pub prior to the Oaks game and he has had his share of articles. One huge advantage is that Lee runs behind a very good line and Jackson runs behind a Simi line that is average at best. Jackson has good size and decent speed and with one more year to improve he could be one of the top backs in Southern California next season.
2006-2007 At a Glance
2005 record and league finish: 5-5, 2-5 (tied for sixth place).
2005 playoffs: Did not qualify.
Top returning players: RB Langston Jackson, OL Nathan Mullett, DT Luke Fleckenstein, FB/LB Brian Grace, OL Joshua Binns.
Promising newcomers: QB Brandon Fricke, WR Jesse Swayze, SS Chance Cross.
MVP: Langston Jackson.
Emerging star: Jackson.
Top newcomer: Fricke.
Unsung hero: Brian Grace.
Outlook: Graduation has claimed nine starters on offense, which mandates wholesale changes in 2006. The good news is the presence of Jackson, who has a chance to be a special running back. If the offensive line develops, Pioneers will hang tough in the league race.
Quote: "We know Langston Jackson can run the football. It's just a matter of opening up the holes for him," - Borowski.
Predicted finish: Seventh