The Jackson Generals had another impressive performance Thursday afternoon.
Jackson players and coaches headed to their buses having just made quick work of Hialeah-Miami Lakes, thrashing the Trojans 44-0 at HML Field. On the heels of last week’s season opening 53-0 beating of Mourning, that adds up to 97-0 over the first two weeks.
But they all knew the reality of the situation. Mourning and Lakes are clearly struggling programs, and the Generals have bigger fish to fry ahead.
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That’s because they reside in the same district with big shots Cardinal Gibbons and Plantation American Heritage, teams that have left them in the dust in recent years and teams they will need to challenge if they wish to be part of the postseason.
“We’re looking for big things,” said running back Trenod Desrosier, a Miami High transfer who led the way for Jackson with 103 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. “We’re off to a good start, but we know we’ve got big, big games in front of us, much tougher. We’ve got to stay focused and come out and play big.”
The bottom line for Jackson is that new head coach Scott Daniels clearly has invigorated some new energy into a program that has struggled in recent years. The Lakatronia Brunson/Luther Campbell experiment having not worked out, Daniels was named the program’s new head coach last spring after spending the previous five seasons as the offensive coordinator at Central during the Rockets’ state championship run.
“Jackson has always had the talent, even when I was here before. It’s just a matter of maxing it out which has been a problem in recent years,” said Daniels, who has now come full circle having started his coaching career under Roger Coffey at Jackson more than 20 years ago. “Now we’ve got some new blood, new kids, maybe like 10 seniors on the whole team and that’s the way I want it. That way we can all grow together as a team and I see big things in the future.”
Daniels watched his “young team” dominate the Trojans from the opening whistle, especially on defense, which pitched a second straight shutout.
With linebacker Philman Roundtree leading the way, the Generals held Lakes to just 12 yards of total offense and two first downs.
“It’s all good, we’re getting the team right and moving forward,” said Roundtree, a Miami Springs transfer who finished his day with eight tackles and two sacks, one for a safety. “At first we weren’t jelling but now it’s starting to come together.”
Jackson (2-0) jumped on the Trojans (0-2) in the first quarter when Amari Daniels scored from 15 yards out. That was followed up early in the second quarter when quarterback Tyous Taylor finished off a six-play, 57-yard drive with a 2-yard score.
Lakes hung tough and the score was still 12-0 when the Generals put together a drive in the final seconds before halftime. A 21-yard pass from Taylor to Beron Grant got Jackson to the Lakes two with just three seconds left. The Generals called their last timeout and Desrosier went into the end zone on the final play to make it 20-0 at the half following the two-point conversion.
“It’s been a good transition,” said senior slot back Antwan Brinson, who is one of the few remaining offensive starters from last season. “Our offense, it’s much better than last year because we throw the ball more and we’ve really been executing. It’s also a better situation coaching-wise, we’re more disciplined than the past and have come together as a family.”
Daniels, who spent two decades in the assistant coaching ranks with stops at Jackson, Northwestern, Krop and Miami Springs before arriving at Central, added: “The culture, it needed a little lift because things have been down for a few years around here, but it wasn’t hard to raise it back up because we have good athletes here. All we needed was a breath of fresh air and I guess I’m that breath of fresh air.”
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