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Huntington’s Zah Jackson repeats as Carl Lee Award winner

HUNTINGTON — Billy Seals bristled at an official who threw a flag for go interference on Zah Jackson early final season.

“A child with gives from SEC packages doesn’t must intervene with any receiver in West Virginia,” mentioned Seals, Huntington Excessive’s soccer coach, of his star cornerback.

Jackson, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior, is the winner of the Carl Lee Award as the very best highschool defensive again within the state. Jackson additionally received the award final yr.

The speedy shutdown nook mentioned he was honored to win the award named after former Marshall College and NFL star. Lee performed security for 11 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and one with the New Orleans Saints. He was a three-time All-Professional. Lee, a local of South Charleston, was an All-Southern Convention cornerback with the Thundering Herd from 1979 by way of 1982.

Jackson owns faculty scholarship gives from Mississippi State, Marshall, West Virginia, Akron, Appalachian State, Japanese Kentucky, the College of Charleston, James Madison, Kent State, Liberty, North Carolina State and West Virginia State. 

For the season, Jackson made 57 tackles, 4 for misplaced yardage, intercepted 5 passes, broke up eight, returned one for a landing, pressured one fumble and blocked a punt for a TD. Modest numbers? Not in context. Jackson performed little in a number of of the Highlanders’ blowouts and foes didn’t take a look at him usually.

“He deserves it,” Lee mentioned. “I’ve seen him play. He definitely deserves it. He’s a greater participant at his age than I used to be at that age. The younger man makes performs.”

On offense, Jackson ran for 1,157 yards and 18 touchdowns, caught 221 yards value of passes. He additionally ran again 209 yards value of kickoff returns, one for a landing.  

Jackson helped Huntington Excessive to a Class AAA state title in 2022 and earned most precious participant honors within the 28-3 victory over Parkersburg South. He aided the Highlanders in making the semifinals this season. 

“Zah is such an explosive participant,” Seals mentioned. “There’s little question he’s the very best within the state. The factor is, he continues to get higher and higher. He works at it.”

Seals additionally praised Jackson for his off-field exploits.

“He’s a nice younger man and the No. 1 participant within the state,” Seals mentioned. “His future could be very brilliant.”

Jackson will likely be acknowledged on the 77th annual Victory Awards Dinner on Could 5, 2024 at River Metropolis in Wheeling.

Different gamers who acquired votes for the Lee Award embody Fairmont Senior’s Cannon Dinger, North Marion’s Landon Frey, Morgantown’s Bobby Powell and Independence’s Trey Bowers.

TIM STEPHENS/The Herald-Dispatch