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PLAYER PROFILES

Kickers Keep Jackson Fully Stonewalled

November 15, 1996|VINCE KOWALICK

VENTURA — Kicks just keep getting harder to find for Jeramie Jackson.

A kickoff-return specialist for Ventura High, Jackson has spent much of the season watching kickers boot the ball away from him, or squib the ball in his general direction.

A starting tailback who has rushed for 1,240 yards and nine touchdowns this season, Jackson said he would prefer to play exclusively in the secondary.

Nevertheless, these are glory days for Jackson, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior who leads Ventura (8-1, 6-0 in Channel League) against host Dos Pueblos (8-1, 5-1) tonight in a regular-season finale that will decide the league championship.

"Presently, I'm enjoying it," Jackson said of the season. "But I would be happier on defense. They say they need me at running back, and most guys would like to play running back. But not me. I like to hit and I like to intercept the ball."

He also enjoys returning kickoffs--when he gets the chance.

Last week against Rio Mesa, Jackson fielded his first of the season--a wobbler, of course--and returned it 91 yards for a touchdown. He also rushed for 187 yards and a touchdown in a 43-34 victory.

"I looked up and there were about nine guys coming at me," Jackson said. "I coulda been killed. I just saw a hole and ran."

Jackson, who rushed for 316 yards as a junior in his first varsity season, may be a prolific runner, but he's far from being fancy.

"I'm just not that way," he said. "I just like to run straight ahead, and if anybody gets in my way, I'm going to lower my shoulder and take a hit."

The secondary probably is where Jackson will play in college, Ventura Coach Phil McCune said. Jackson's grades are good, but he has attracted little attention from major colleges and said he probably will attend Moorpark College.

"Running backs, I have to give them a lot of credit," Jackson said. "They have to read the holes and know what blockers are doing and all that. But I grew up being a defensive back."

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