Home Breaking News New football coach all about players – and The Scrapper Star

New football coach all about players – and The Scrapper Star

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By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

New Coach Shawn Jackson met with his Scrapper football team for the first time Monday, Jan. 8, and immediately put the players to work in the weight room.

Jackson, who was hired Dec. 22, said he is “trying to put faces to names. I worked with the kids” on the first day. “You only get one chance for a first impression. I told them, ‘I’m here for you guys. Let’s get to work.’”

Players spent their time Monday on the “Nine-Week Wave,” according to Jackson. “It’s different. We maxed on legs Monday,” with different areas of emphasis planned for the rest of the week.

Jackson ran the weight room at Georgia schools which “played for a couple of titles in 6A and 7A.”

Scrappers will work their way through the Nine-Week Wave, then start over the next nine weeks.

They’ll also warm up with “football specific” activities each day, Jackson said.

Some of the football players were working with other sports Monday, which didn’t bother Jackson. “I don’t make a big deal out of it if they’re out doing something for Nashville. I played everything” in high school, he said, including his participation in wrestling, where he was all-state.

“If our guys are doing something to make them better,” Jackson said he’s good with it. “I want them to play other sports and win.”

Jackson is staying busy during his early days in Nashville. He’s going over the schedule with Athletic Director James “Bunch” Nichols. His players are lifting weights, and he’s out meeting people.

“The main thing is building relationships. Everything is about the players,” Jackson said. “Everybody has been great. There’s not one of ounce of anything that’s not awesome. I’m impressed.”

Jackson has already bought into the Scrapper Star and its importance in Nashville. Even before he was hired, “Every time I looked at the star on top of a Christmas tree, I thought of Nashville” because of his familiarity with the Scrappers and their tradition.

“When [Superintendent Doug] Graham called me to interview, I was straightening the star on our tree. There’s not a better mascot than the Nashville Scrappers. There’s an aura or a mystique,” Jackson said. “We want to get the mystique back. The helmet and Star mean something.”

Jackson plans to test the Scrappers on their team’s history. “I’ll ask the leading rusher, who scored the winning touchdown in a big game. I want them to know all that stuff,” he said.

“I love history. When I’m in Mr. Graham’s office, I want to look at his yearbooks.”

The coach attributes some of that interest to his father, who was a local sports writer in Haiti, Mo., when Jackson was growing up. 

“I grew up on the football field. I got my arm broken there when I was 6. My dad wrote books about sports in Hayti” and other places. 

Jackson’s father and grandfather served in the Navy, and his father studied sports in locales ranging from Norfolk, Va., to San Diego, Calif.

Jackson coached two years in Crossett, giving him an opportunity to become acquainted with Nashville and other teams. 

He noticed that Nashville didn’t cancel any games during the Covid-19 pandemic.

When he interviewed with the search committee which brought him to Nashville, he learned that Scrapper tradition “mattered to them.” The committee included Graham, Assistant Superintendent Tate Gordon, Nichols and NHS Principal Ashley Riggs.

As for the “players, coaches, everything about Nashville – I’m impressed. Now we’ll have to play and win games,” he said.

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