NORTH JACKSON, Ohio (WKBN) – Coming into the season, only two local teams had never qualified for the high school football playoffs…. Jackson Milton and Sebring. Ten weeks later, the Blue Jays have cut that list in half.
There’s never been a postgame celebration quite like the one last Friday night…in the forty-plus year history of the Jackson-Milton football program. Led by a senior class that went winless as freshmen, the Blue Jays qualified for the playoffs for the first time ever.
“Before us, people thought Jackson-Milton football…that it’s an easy week. We used that as motivation. We didn’t want to be the joke anymore,” Senior Anthony Italiano admitted.
“Top memory of my life so far. i’m only 18 but still,” Senior Quarterback Mike Assion said.
Now in his ninth year as head coach, Mark Assion couldn’t be happier.
“A couple of the linemen said…we’re picking you up. and i’m like, “oh my goodness.” I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or what. The neatest part about that whole thing is they put me down right in front of my son and i get to pick up my kid and hug him.”
“Everyone grows up dreaming of playing with their Dad,” Mike Assion said. “I don’t get to play with him, but, he’s here every single day. It’s awesome that we’ve made this goal and we’ve achieved it together. it was awesome.”
The same can be said about the Blue Jays’ week eleven opponent Mogadore. The Wildcats are making a 17th straight playoff appearance…with three state championships to their name.
“We don’t want to stop here. We want to be the first team in Jackson-Milton history to win State. So, we’re not satisfied with just making the playoffs. We’re happy about it, but we’re not satisfied with it,” Joey Burnside said.
Friday night’s kickoff is set for 7:30 PM from Mogadore’s Wildcat Stadium.
“We’re gonna step out there and compete with a monster. We know that. We’re no longer afraid of the dark. we’re ready to play,” said Blue Jays’ Head Coach Mark Assion.