April 20, 2024

Crossett: The Little Town With Big Talent and Commitment

Let me start this journey at the beginning. In 2017 my wife, Brea, and I moved to a town I had never heard of by the name of Crossett. The town is a “mill town” and has hard-working, blue-collar people here who have a passion for their football program. The Crossett Program has a long history of talented teams and players throughout its history. The Eagles program the first year we lived here went 3-8 on the season. In 2018 they went 2-7. They had a playoff season in 2019 with a 9-4 record. Then coach, Sonny Nassan, surprised Crossett by leaving the program. A team that had just made the Quarterfinals of 4A football was left with no coach. This perplexed me. This is when I became very interested in Crossett Eagle Athletics. This is when my Passion to start the “Inside the Eagles Nest” Podcast began. How would this Administration rebound? Who would they bring in to keep the ship afloat? They would look no further than the knowledge and experience of one man.

Shawn Jackson took over the duties of Head Football Coach and Athletic Director in 2019. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that is unmatched. Every member of his staff I have spoken to speak of not only his knowledge but his ways of teaching. His way of motivating. He has motivated not only his team but this city. He loves his players and their success on the field. To Coach Jackson, it’s about more than how many yards they run for or how many interceptions they have. It is about how they perform in the classroom and the community. He is helping in teaching life lessons and creating future Husbands, Fathers, and Outstanding Men in this world.   He created the moniker of “Commit to the C’. This has become a culture in all things Crossett Athletics. The Football Program has been the team that has spearheaded this movement. Under Jackson, they have a high octane all gas no brakes offense and a stingy and gritty defense. Last season in a “Covid Season” the Eagles went 6-2 and 3-0 in the conference. Last season the town could see what was to come this season. They could see the team buying in.

          Going into this season this team just had a special feel to them. Having a Senior led team {16 Seniors} and a wealth of talent at all three levels was a recipe for success. The town was committing to the C and ready to see this team. Crossett would start the season red hot with two straight wins over Osceola at home and Magnolia on the road. They would then hit a rough stretch losing two close games to McGehee at home and Warren on the road in a raucous atmosphere. This is where things would change for this team. The Eagles would go on a five-game winning streak. The Defense for the Eagles wouldn’t allow more than 14 points in a game during this stretch. The Eagles were flying high going into Senior Night, but the Bulldogs from Star City had different plans and beat the Eagles. The Eagles finished the regular season at 7-3 and were scheduled to host a home Playoff game.

          Playoff Football is a special time in a high school athletes’ life. Cold nights in November only come to certain teams across this country and it is winning or going home. This team gave this city a show during these Playoffs. They won their 1st Round home game against Pottsville 49-7. Eagle Nation was out in full force at Crossett’s home stadium, Yarbrough Field, for Round One, and the team fed off it. Round two for the Eagles would be a four-and-a-half-hour road trip to face the Hillbillies {Yes real name} of Ozark. The High-Powered Offense and Nasty Defense would show up again and the Eagles would get the win 44-20. The Eagles were in the “Elite 8” of Arkansas 4A Football. They would face a familiar foe in the Badgers from Arkadelphia. The Badgers and Eagles faced off in 2019 in a Classic the Eagles would win. This season would not turn out the same way for them. The Badgers came in tonight and ended what I think was an incredible run by this Staff and Team. The Eagles entered Friday night’s game ranked #36 in the state according to MaxPreps. You read that right! 36th!  This team will leave a legacy. I asked Radio Play By Play Announcer for Crossett, Larry Cantley, who has covered Crossett in some capacity since 2002 for KAGH 104.9 FM what this team’s legacy would be to him. Larry said “Their legacy is two 3rd Round Playoff finishes in playoffs and one semi-final finish!! Too entirely different coaches! Proud of the way even once the mercy rule kicked in tonight that they still never quit!!!” 

While there are many players, I could specifically mention I will not because Football is a team sport and I want to praise the entire team. I want the NATION to know they these young men here are extremely talented and deserve more limelight. They deserve to have a Podcast that features their games, scores, and stats. They deserve to be contending for a State Championship! The city deserves that! This little town has HUGE things in its future if they continue to Commit! Go Eagles!  

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