By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
In recent years, Marlboro has never named team captains, but that changed at last year’s football banquet without any notice.
Quarterback Sam Mongelli and center Matt Jackson received the honor. On the fly, the pair of newly minted captains was asked to give speeches to the audience at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel.
Mongelli didn’t disappoint, but Jackson who spoke first, captivated the crowd. It was almost as if a polished politician or a seasoned motivational speaker was in front of the room.
“It was off the cuff, but Matt went on for 15 minutes,” Marlboro coach Brian Beck said. “He was quoting movies. It was one of the most remarkable, intelligent speeches that I have ever heard.”
Added Mongelli: “Coming off the top of his head, Matt’s speech was mind-blowing. I’m not sure if some people understood all of his vocabulary, but you could tell that he was serious. You could feel his passion. It was an amazing speech and, in my opinion, Matt is the best leader around.”
To know Matt Jackson is to know one of the most well-rounded players in Section 9. He’s one of Marlboro’s leaders: Beck defers to Jackson, a senior, to give every pre-game speech before the Iron Dukes (10-1) leave the locker room. Each address is usually Remember the Titans quality.
Even more impressive is Matt Jackson the person. Sure, he will knock you on your backside with brute force in the trenches, but off the field he is likable, articulate, thoughtful and civic-minded. When you speak to Jackson, you feel like you are having a conversation with an adult.
“It’s definitely not the first time that I’ve heard I’m mature for my age,” Jackson said humbly. “I’ve been told that I’m an old soul. That’s just the way that I am, but I goof around sometimes.”
Jackson maintains a 102 classroom average and could be Marlboro’s Valedictorian this year. He hopes to attend Johns Hopkins University next year and major in Biomedical Engineering. Jackson is also a member of the National Honor Society, is the Vice President of the Spanish Honor Society and plays on Marlboro’s successful basketball team.
He is also proud to be the student representative for Marlboro’s Board of Education (BOE). He became the prime candidate for the position last year when he spoke passionately and gracefully about the firing of football coach Rich Ward at several meetings. As the BOE rep, Jackson has worked to give students more of a voice in the district and provide them with more activities.
Jackson credits his parents for playing a huge role in molding him into the young man that he is. His father, Dan, is an attorney and a Judge in the Town of Marlborough. Jackson’s mom, Kristin, is a paralegal. The couple instilled a work ethic in their son and always taught him to be humble, respectful and kind to his peers.
“My parents’ values have always influenced me,” Matt Jackson said. “They always taught me to always work hard, to never get comfortable and always treat people with respect and kindness. We have to respect one another. Even if you have differnces with someone, you should listen to what they have to say.”