Lake Norman & Mooresville

Senior having breakout season for Huskies

After being a back-up last year for Hough, running back Jackson Campbell admits that he didn't know what to expect coming into this season.

But the senior has had a breakthrough season for the Huskies, running for 809 yards and seven touchdowns heading into his team's Oct. 14 homecoming game against Mooresville.

"I really wanted this year to happen," said Campbell. "I wanted to have a good senior year."

Coming off a 204-yard season playing behind Hough's 2010 leading rusher Quintaris Jordan, Campbell said he dedicated himself to working out to prepare for the bigger offensive load he knew he would have to undertake.

The 17-year-old said he's been feeling the difference since his team's season opener against Independence.

"I just feel bigger, faster, stronger," said Campbell.

The running back rushed for 124 yards to kick off the Huskies' second season and although his team came up short, Campbell, who used to question whether he was good enough to play at the high school level, started to believe in himself.

"I never thought I could be this good - or even decent at playing football," said Campbell.

Although he had what he put as "shaky" games against the Huskies' next three opponents - Myers Park, Providence and Berry Academy - as he averaged less than 40 yards per game, Campbell has been impressive since.

He ran in the triple digits for the next four games against I-Meck opponents, including a school-record 193-yard performance in a 24-21 win against West Charlotte two weeks ago.

Hough coach Bobby Collins credits the success to Campbell's determination.

"He's always going for that extra yard. Always trying to make the big play," said Collins. "As a coach, that's all you can ask for - for the guy to give us great effort week in and week out."

Campbell is a hard runner, who's not afraid of contact and can cause defenses trouble with his speed in the open field. The elusive 5-foot-10, 175-pounder said he looks to run up the middle instead of bouncing to the outside.

He explained that being a contributor for his team feels great. He enjoys having a chance to make the team successful.

"It's all about helping the team," said Campbell.

Collins said his running back has done just that.

"We put a lot of emphasis on trying to run the ball," said Collins, who added that he has a soft spot for the running game after playing offensive lineman at South Carolina State.

"We try to throw the ball to open up the run. Once we do that, it gives us a chance to be successful."

The passing game has been led by sophomore quarterback Josh Stilley, who was sidelined for four weeks of the season after breaking his left wrist, with the help of receivers Brandon Mobley, Nick Burrow and Sanders Poff.

Campbell gave credit to the Huskies' offensive linemen - center Jacob McCreary, guards Christian York and Christian Walker as well as tackles Keyonte Easter and Griff Vari - for a lot of his success.

Campbell said he's proud of his Huskies, who had already won four games, including three in the I-Meck before the Mooresville game, after winning only two non-conference meetings last year.

"We've all progressed so much," said Campbell. "We've really come together as a team."

Campbell says the second-year Hough team has developed faster than he expected.

"I personally didn't think we would be this good," he said. "But I knew if we all clicked that we could turn a lot of heads this year."

Collins hopes that Campbell, who he said has shown a lot of perseverance since losing his father last year, can become Hough's first 1,000-yard rusher. "He's been through a lot in the last year, but he decided to come out for his senior year and really get it done," said Collins.