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December 11, 2013

St. Mary’s ‘go-to’ guy earns All-State honors

Watts-Jackson caps career with nod to Division 3 All-State team

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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St. Mary’s senior Jalen Watts-Jackson picks off a pass during a scrimmage this past season. The Detroit resident was recently named All-State in Division 3.

Simply put, Jalen Watts-Jackson was a playmaker.

Pinning down just where he would make said plays was a task opposing teams struggled with all season.

The multithreat senior from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s capped his career with another standout performance and, in doing so, was named to the Division 3 All-State squad.

“It’s pretty cool, pretty exciting,” Watts-Jackson said of earning All-State. “I didn’t really expect it, but it’s something I wanted. Something I’d never experienced before.”

Eaglets coach George Porritt, who kept Watts-Jackson on the varsity squad each of the past three seasons, was hardly surprised.

“He was one of the best all-around players out there,” Porritt said. “I wasn’t surprised at all by this. He was a kid that went out and made an impact. He was a threat every time he touched the ball.”

Watts-Jackson, who is committed to Michigan State University, went both ways for St. Mary’s this year.

Defensively, he had 39 unassisted tackles, six interceptions, caused two fumbles and returned two picks for touchdowns.

On the offensive side of the ball, he hauled in 27 receptions for 369 yards and three touchdowns.

And, just for good measure, he averaged nearly 17 yards on punt returns and took three punts back for touchdowns.

“He was our go-to guy on offense,” Porritt said. “On defense, he was one of our biggest leaders.”

St. Mary’s went 5-4 this fall, narrowly missing out on the playoffs after reaching the state finals in each of the past four seasons.

Watts-Jackson said he and his guys had nothing to hang their heads about.

“It was tough in we didn’t accomplish some of the things we wanted to,” he said. “But to work with some of the younger guys was great. And to look back on the career we had, it’s pretty special to me.”

Of course, his football days are far from over.

Watts-Jackson committed to MSU and will sign with the Spartans in February.

The Detroit resident said his main goal now is the basketball season, and then everything will shift to college prep.

“It’s about me getting bigger and stronger, and just more prepared for the next level,” Watts-Jackson said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Honorable mention

Typical brilliance is, more or less, what Walled Lake Western’s Kyle Bambard displayed in 2013.

The Warriors’ quarterback had a stellar senior season and was named to the D-1 All-State honorable-mention roster.

In 11 games this fall, he passed for 1,721 yards with 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

He also rushed for 1,458 yards and 14 scores.

On special teams, Bambard averaged 37.3 yards per punt, made 47 of 48 extra points, and connected on 11 field goals in 18 tries.

He committed to North Carolina State University as a kicker.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.