After most of the big plays he made Saturday against Wilson, H.D. Woodson linebacker Deonte Jackson maintained the same ritual. He violently slapped his helmet, as if a charge had just detonated in his head. It looked odd, but it captured Jackson on the football field: unpredictable, ferocious and wild.
“I let it out to an extent. I don’t get out of control with it,” Jackson said of his football rage. “I have to let it out though. . . . This was a personal game for me.”
Jackson was relentless, recording a fumble recovery, interception and several tackles for loss, and Jai Carson and D’Andre Payne each added a pair of touchdowns as H.D. Woodson rolled to a 35-18 win over Wilson in a key DCIAA matchup in Northeast.
Carson was sensational, rushing for 155 yards, and Payne was electrifying, scoring on his only two carries. But it was the physicality of Jackson and the Warriors (4-3, 3-0 Stars division) that wore down Wilson in the second half.
The Tigers (5-3, 3-1) struck early, scoring on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Scott Beumel to Dewayne Shorter III. Woodson’s propensity for penalties (12 for 100 yards) also stymied the Warriors early.
Up 10-7 early in the third quarter, the Tigers threw interceptions on consecutive possessions that led to Warriors touchdowns, including Carson’s 21-yard score that pushed H.D. Woodson’s lead to 22-10 with two minutes left in the third. Payne put the win on ice several minutes later, taking an end-around 10 yards for another score.
“This was a very important game,” said Payne, who also had a 53-yard touchdown run in the first half despite losing his shoe while tiptoeing down the sideline. “It was living up to the hype.”
For Jackson, who came up with two turnovers to thwart Wilson drives deep in Warriors territory, the hype has surrounded this game since he had a teammate transfer to Wilson before the season, he said. Leading up the game, Wilson and H.D. Woodson players “were talking a lot on Twitter,” Jackson said.
By the second half, the online realm had become an afterthought. And when Jackson tattooed a Wilson runner in the backfield with the Warriors protecting a 12-point lead, the crowd let out a collective gasp.
And there was Jackson, slapping his helmet in celebration.
“We had to settle down because everyone was too amped for the game,” Jackson said. “We had to come out in the second half and capitalize.”