After injuries to his shoulders hampered his 2011 season, Jackson-Milton's Chuckie Anderson is ready to make his senior campaign a good one, both for himself and for the Blue Jays.
Jackson-Milton coach Mark Assion said he will be relying on Anderson to set the tone for the other players this season.
"He's going to play a variety of positions for us. He's going to help us out a lot. He's really grown up a lot," Assion said. "As a leader, he just steps up. He's the guy that the kids look to to make plays for us in games. He's been doing it all summer competitive wise. Speaking up when he needs to speak up. He's really got his head on his shoulders right."
Anderson said that while 2011 was a let down for the Blue Jays, things weren't as bad as they seemed.
"We went 3-7. I feel we could've had a better record," he said. "But sometimes it just doesn't play out the way you want it. We always battled hard. We're a good team. Just because the record doesn't show it that doesn't mean that we aren't."
Jackson-Milton's schedule will be different going forward than it has been the last several seasons, as the program will transition from the Lower Tier to the Upper Tier of the Inter Tri-County League.
"I've got high projections for us," Anderson said. "We're moving to the Upper Tier, but a lot of people are like 'Oh they're moving to the Upper Tier.' But I don't think that's a big ordeal. I think we're still going to do good. We've got around 40 kids on the team this year, and they're all hard workers. I think it's going to be a good season."
Assion said Anderson stood out on the field more than once last season for the Blue Jays.
"Definitely the McDonald game," Assion said of Anderson's best games. "He had about 12 tackles, had a pick. Offensively, I think he got two or three balls in that one. He's just a good all-around little athlete. A good kid to be around."
"Last season I did all right," Anderson said. "I know I was on the Upper honor team in tackles. I had some injuries last year too with my shoulders.
"Hopefully I'll be starting at receiver and on defense at safety. Last year I played safety and I like it because I'm free; I'm always in cover 3 so I really don't have any responsibility. I can just roam around and just try to make every tackle that I can and catch every ball that I can on defense."
Both Assion and Anderson were asked what their goals for the senior are this year.
"Just leadership. That's all we can ask," Assion said. "If he leads and shows the kids how to compete, we're going to have a shot at winning some ballgames this fall."
"Personally, just try to stay healthy throughout the year and be a team leader," Anderson said. "It's my senior year so this is probably the last year I'm going to play football. Just to be a positive role model and help everyone out."