WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — Last week, Westerville North beat their crosstown rival Westerville Central 21-12 for the first time since 2008.
The Warriors beat the WarHawks under first-year coach Stanley Jackson. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Jackson played quarterback for Ohio State from 1994 to 1997.
But Jackson’s not the only Buckeye on the Warriors’ coaching staff. Eight players who wore the Scarlet and Gray, and even one Michigan Wolverine, are now coaching for the Maroon and Gold.
Jackson’s staff of former Buckeyes includes co-defensive coordinator Winfield Garnett, co-defensive coordinator Ashanti Webb, running backs coach Beanie Wells, offensive line coach Eric Smith, receivers coach Reggie Germany, linebackers coach Paris Long and quality control coach Jamar Martin. The lone Wolverine on staff is offensive coordinator Marcus Ray.
“You know we’re learning from the best,” said Westerville North junior quarterback Ronald Jackson, the son of coach Stanley Jackson.
No matter where you look on the field, you’ll see a former Division I football player roaming the sideline.
“They’ve been where I want to go, so who better to learn from?” defensive end Brian Robinson said.
Robinson, who has more than 40 Division I offers, transferred from Austintown Fitch in Youngstown to play his senior year for Jackson and the Warriors.
“It’s phenomenal. They teach you the game. They don’t just coach you,” he said. “They know football, so they teach you the game, teach you how to watch film, break it down and do everything at a college level.”
At the college level, Jackson helped the Buckeyes win a Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl in 1996. He took over a Westerville North program that only won three games the last two years.
“The first assumption is there’s not a lot of talent there; the cupboard is bare, so to speak. But that’s not the case,” Jackson said. “We’ve got some very talented football players in this program, so really the first impression is that this team is pretty good. They’re a team that can compete with most teams.”
The Warriors can compete with most teams in part because of who’s coaching them this season.
“It certainly doesn’t happen every day to where you got guys that all played major college football but some of these guys played in the National Football League,” Wells said. “It doesn’t happen and it doesn’t happen with no egos and that’s one of the things we have here at Westerville North. We don’t have any coaches with egos that feel like they’re bigger than everybody else. We all know our role, and we stick to that.”
Wells said this was all set in motion a few years ago when they were coaching their kids in the Junior Football League of Westerville. Several of the former Buckeyes agreed that if one of them got a head coaching job in Westerville, they would team up. That’s exactly what happened when Jackson was hired in February.
“I’m a firm believer from a leadership perspective you bring people on that are at least as good or better,” Jackson said. “I’ve got guys that have played it at a high level, been coached by people who really understand the game, so it’s like they got a Master’s [degree] in football.”
Unlike most high school teams, there’s only one school teacher on the coaching staff.
“There’s a lot of teachers that are coaches and they do an awesome job,” Reggie Germany said. “When you’ve got guys that have actually played the position at every different level. We’re going to give the kids a couple of nuances that I think are important.”
Those nuances can lead to big things, like beating your rival for the first time in 15 years.
“I think we’re poised to go as far as we want to as long as we internally stay close as brothers and stay focused,” Ronald Jackson said. “I think we have talent to compete with anyone in the state.”