A Proven Winner
CHS teacher Judah Jackson inspiring youths in the game of basketball
By Cary Shuman
Judah Jackson excelled in the best high school football program in Massachusetts, led his college basketball team to the Sweet 16, and guided the Chelsea High School JV basketball team to a 20-0 record.
For the past three years, Jackson, a 28-year-old teacher and coach at CHS, has been spreading his enthusiasm for basketball and bringing his knowledge of the game in to the Chelsea community. Jackson’s latest endeavor was an instructional clinic that he and former CHS 1,000-point scorer Cesar Castro hosted Sept 2 at the Saul Nechtem Gymnasium. Thirty boys and girls (grades 5-8) participated in the clinic.
Jackson was a two-sport standout right next door at Everett High School where he played football for coach John DiBiaso in a program that has won 10 Super Bowls. The 6-feet-2-inch Jackson was a Greater Boston League All-Star for the EHS football and basketball teams.
Following a year at Cushing Academy, a college preparatory school in central Massachusetts, Jackson went on to excel in basketball at Bridgewater State University. He was the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) rookie of the year, All-Conference Second Team, Tournament MVP, and completed his stellar career with 1,500 points.
But more importantly, Jackson was a leader on three consecutive MASCAC championship teams, one of which advanced all the way to the Division 3 Sweet 16. In other words, he was one of the best players on one of the best teams in the country, making school history with the three straight titles.
“I had a pretty good career at Bridgewater and I was really fortunate to play for a great coach,” he said humbly. “It was fun while it lasted. We got to travel the country. I miss those days.”
He earned his college degree in Exercise Science and took his first professional position as a physical education teacher in the Everett school system. He is in his fourth year in the Chelsea school district and has served on Jay Seigal’s boys basketball coaching staff for the past three seasons. Two seasons ago he led the CHS jayvees to a 20-0 record and he was promoted to assistant varsity coach for the 2015-16 season.
Jackson said he was grateful to coach Seigal for believing in his abilities and giving him the coaching opportunity.
“I loved working with coach Seigal,” said Jackson. “He was a great guy. He taught me a lot off the court – how to carry myself and character-building skills and how to teach your players about time management.”
Mr. Seigal has stepped down from his position and Jackson has emerged as a formidable candidate for the position. New CHS director of athletics Amanda Alpert will ultimately recommend a candidate for selection following the application screening and interview process.
“I’ve been working with the team – many of the players who were on the undefeated JV team are in the program,” said Jackson. “I will be a candidate for the head coaching position.”
The basketball clinic at CHS affirmed Jackson’s status as someone who has the respect and attention of aspiring hoopsters in the city. The clinic drew a sizable tournament on the first day of a holiday weekend but it also continued the momentum that the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament had begun in August. Jackson’s friend, Cesar Castro, and former prep star Kyle Umemba ran the successful tournament at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club.
Jackson, a certified IAABO basketball official, refereed the championship game in the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament.
Jackson said he learned while growing up in a sports-minded city like Everett how important adult mentors were in setting a foundation in student-athletes’ lives.
“I wouldn’t be in the position that I am if coach DiBiaso didn’t take me under his wing,” said Jackson. “Mr. DiBiaso helped me get in to Cushing Academy and extend my playing career. He drove me up to Cushing Academy and I decided to go to prep school.”
Jackson would now like to become a head coach himself, serving as a mentor and role model to young players.
“I would like to be a head coach,” said Jackson. “I feel my experience and training are assets. Hopefully I can take the next step in my career.”
CHS boys soccer
team tops two foes
The Chelsea High boys soccer team got back on the winning track with a pair of victories this past week over Commonwealth Athletic Conference rivals Whittier Tech and Lynn Tech.
“These were big games for us,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki of the Red Devils, who snapped a two-game winless skein to improve to 3-1-1 on the season. “We had tied and lost our previous two games, so it was important to get these wins in order to get back over .500.”
In the Whittier contest last Wednesday at Chelsea Stadium, the teams were knotted at nil-nil through the first 34 minutes until senior captain Carlos Cartagena reached the back of the Whittier net, assisted by junior Melvin Garay, to make it 1-0. Five minutes later, Humberto Suarez took a nice pass from right to left by Cartagena in the box and one-timed the ball from about 15 yards out to make it a 2-0 affair with just about a minute left in the half.
Carlos Cruz, assisted by Kevin Valle, struck for a goal just one minute after the intermission to increase the CHS margin to 3-0. Whittier took advantage of a Chelsea misplay on defense with 15 minutes to go to close the gap to 3-1, but Waldane Watkins re-established a three-goal Red & Black advantage with eight minutes remaining.
Whittier added a meaningless marker in the final two minutes for the 4-2 finale. CHS keeper Diego Granados, a sophomore, earned the win in net.
Two days later the Red Devils trekked to Lynn Tech and came away with a 5-2 win over a good Tech squad.
Captain Carlos Cruz gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the contest when he slipped the ball past the Tech keeper amidst a scramble in front of the LT net with what would prove to be the lone score of the opening half.
However, the second 40 minutes of play would prove to be a shootout between these two talented squads. Tech leveled the match at 1-1 eight minutes after the intermission, but CHS captain Kevin Umanzor-Torrez made good on a penalty shot — his second PK of the season — to return the advantage to the Devils. Soares was taken down in the box by a Tech player to create the PK.
Tech responded to bring the teams back to level once again with 19 minutes left on the clock, but Chelsea revved its offensive engine into high gear to score three unanswered goals in the final 16 minutes of play. Umanzor-Torrez gave his team the lead for good at the 64:00 minute mark, followed by markers from Valle at 70:00 and Angel Ruiz (who was appearing in his first game of the season) a minute later that put the game on ice.
“This was our best game of the year,” noted Protasowicki. “We played much more as a team than we have to this point in the season.”
Coach Mick Milutinovic and his crew, who have had this week off from competition, play at Essex Tech tomorrow (Friday). They will host Greater Lowell Tuesday and Shawsheen next Thursday.
CHS football team
The Chelsea High football team will be shooting for its first victory of the season when the Red Devils host Hamilton-Wenham tomorrow (Friday) evening under the lights at Chelsea Stadium. Kick-off is set for 7:00.
Chelsea fell to 0-2 with a 52-12 loss to Northeast Regional Vocational School Friday night at the Stadium before a large crowd that turned out for the rivalry game.
The Red Devils found themselves behind the proverbial 8-ball from the outset. After receiving the opening kickoff, Chelsea went three & out. Northeast then blocked the CHS punt and took over on the Red Devil 34. The Golden Knights needed just six plays to reach the end zone and then made a successful two-point conversion for a quick 8-0 lead.
The Chelsea offense was unable to make a first down on its next possession and was forced to punt, with Northeast taking over on its own 40. However, three plays later CGS senior Tony Bui made an excellent defensive play, stripping the ball from the Northeast running back.
The Chelsea offense began to show some life and moved the football. However, the drive came to a crashing halt when Chelsea fumbled on the Northeast 25 yard line.
“It was an 8-0 ballgame at the point where we fumbled,” said CHS head coach Jack Halas. “We had something going offensively. A score there could have changed the course of the game.”
Instead, Northeast reasserted the momentum and needed just five plays to march into the end zone and make it a 16-0 contest (after the successful two-point PAT).
Northeast added to its lead in short order, recovering an onside-kick at the Chelsea 41 yard line. Seven plays later it was a 24-0 contest.
Northeast added another score before the half ended, and Chelsea managed to get on the board just before halftime, as senior quarterback T.J. Patterson dove into the end zone, leaving matters at 30-6 at the intermission.
“Northeast ran their Wing T offense very well against us,” said Halas. “It is difficult to win football games when the opponent can rush for over 400 yards on 47 carries. They controlled the line of scrimmage, they controlled the time of possession, and they earned their 52-12 victory.
“Until we can figure out how to stop the run, we have our work cut out for us,” added the coach.
Senior wide receiver Nick Ieng scored Chelsea’s second TD. Defensively, junior linebacker Nelson Hernandez led the Red Devils with eight tackles and freshmen linebacker Adrian Salmoran accounted for six tackles.
“We are a work in progress and very young at some key positions,” noted Halas. “This experience will only help to better serve the boys as they grow older.”
Deras leads CHS
girls in tri-meet
The Chelsea High girls cross country team hosted Whittier Tech and Presentation of Mary last Wednesday.
Yarid Deras remained undefeated with a wire-to-wire win in a personal record (PR) time of 22:50 over the 3.1 mile course at Admiral’s Hill. Yarid was more than a minute faster than the second place finisher from PMA.
Sophomore Jocelyn Poste ran a strong race to finish third overall with a time of 24:26. Senior captain Melanie Nguyen was right behind Poste in fourth in 24:49. Freshman Karina Avalos was the fourth Chelsea finisher and freshman Sandra Tun was 20 seconds behind to round out the scoring for the Lady Red Devils.
Both meets were very close. Chelsea beat Whittier 27-30, but lost to PMA 31-28. (low The Lady Red Devils are now at 2-1 on the year and were set to travel to Pine Banks in Malden to face Mystic Valley yesterday (Wednesday). They will meet Greater Lawrence and Notre Dame of Tyngsboro in a tri-meet next Wednesday at Admiral’s Hill.
“I was very happy with how we ran,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “Everybody improved significantly from last week’s meet at home and our first three placed in the top four in the meet. They all ran aggressively and took advantage of being at home. We don’t have a big team, but we have a hard working, committed squad that wants to get faster every week.”
On the boys’ side, freshman Demitrius Martinez was fifth overall in the three-team meet. He had a PR by over one minute from last week’s meet against Everett. Alex Pedrero was third against PMA in a PR of 21:07. Senior captain Adriel Cedano finished fifth overall against PMA. Freshman Abraham Barrientos was the fourth Chelsea runner and senior Issac Colcord was the fifth Red Devil across the line.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, they lost to PMA by one point, 27-28. Against Whittier the Devils fell by the score of 18-44.
“Everyone ran better than last week and our top five were much closer to each other than last week,” noted Fay. “We just have to keep working hard and getting better week to week.
“We have two freshmen in our top five, so I’m happy with the youth because we have had trouble getting freshmen boys out for cross country,” added Fay. “I am excited to see what the future holds for them. “
The boys also were set to be at Pine Banks yesterday (Wednesday) and then will host Medford at Admiral’s Hill tomorrow (Friday).