Luke Jackson is having a busy senior year.
When he isn’t leading in Red Devil tackles and breaking school records on the football field, he’s spending his mornings working as an intern for the City of Ravenswood.
Jackson recently ended his high school football career with 371 career tackles, breaking the record of 369 set in 2012 by Brad Titus.
“It was always my goal since Brad broke it in 2012, but I never really thought about it when I was playing. I just played,” he said.
Now, Jackson wants his record to be a goal for future Red Devils.
“I want it to be a goal for the younger generations of Red Devils. Maybe they can break it one day,” he said.
Jackson ended the 2018 season with a team-leading 106 tackles, including 45 solo and 61 assists. All-in-all, Jackson said it was a great season.
“We didn’t get as many wins as I had hoped coming in, but it was a really fun year to be with my teammates,” he said.
Jackson had 20 tackles for a loss on the season for another team high. Playing on defense has always been a natural fit, Jackson said. Having three All-State linebackers on the coaching staff (Andrew Schindler, Brandon Smith, and Brad Titus) is a big help.
“Those guys pushed me every day. Having them there in practice with me every day really helped,” he said.
During the season, Jackson got a telephone call from another Ravenswood All-State linebacker, Jake Young, who now lives in California.
“It’s awesome because I always looked up to those guys growing up. Having them encouraging me just means everything. It gives me just one more reason to push myself every day,” Jackson said.
In addition to breaking the school record for most tackles, Jackson also picked up 15 career forced fumbles to break Young’s previous career record of 12. He also bested Young’s record for most forced fumbles in a season with a total of 7 over Young’s 5.
Jackson first set foot on Flinn Field at age 10 months, accompanied by his father, defensive coordinator Jason Jackson.
He said some of his first memories of the game include sitting in the stands with his mother.
“I would run out with the team, and dad would lift me up into the stands with my mom. I remember sitting in the stands not knowing what was going on. I remember guys running back and forth, up and down the field. It was the coolest thing. I fell in love with the game just growing up around it,” he said.
“As I got a little older and started to understand, I fell in love with the game even more. It just means a lot growing up around the program,” he said.
When Jackson was in middle school, his father first began to teach him how to read the line.
“I loved just picking apart how to read the line, flying to the football, and making big plays,” he said.
Jackson finished 2018 with 599 rushing yards in 107 carries and 6 touchdowns. He also had one catch for 19 yards and a kickoff return for 15 yards in 2018.
In the Hatchet, Jackson led with 7 total tackles, including 2 solo and 5 assists. He said he particularly enjoys playing the Red Devils’ cross-county rival, the Ripley Vikings.
“My freshman year I had 16 tackles, my sophomore year I had 15, my junior year I had 15. I think everyone plays better than they usually do in the Hatchet. It just means more to everybody,” he said.
“It’s just the history behind it. We’ve been playing Ripley for 100 years,” Jackson said.
Jackson is looking at several different collegiate options, but he definitely wants to play college ball.
“I’ve narrowed it down to a few schools. I’m still taking my time and making sure I make the right decision,” he said.
Jackson has been involved with FFA for six years, goes to Fellowship Baptist Church, and operates a small firewood business. He also works for his father in the summer. In FFA, he shows a pig every year at the Jackson Junior Fair and has won an agriculture proficiency award for forest management and products.
This year, he’s been spending his mornings working for the City of Ravenswood through a cooperative agreement with the high school.
He’s performed a number of tasks, from improving trails at the Eastwood Recreation Complex to building a GaGa ball pit at Treasure Island park.
“I really like it because it’s the first three periods of school. It helps me start out the mornings. I really enjoy work like that,” he said.
“It’s awesome to think the work I do will benefit people,” Jackson said.