Adoree' Jackson (DB/2014) Pregame Interview: Gardena Serra vs LB Poly

Junior Defensive Back & Return Specialist Chats with CLA

Gardena Serra was hoping to experience the trip of a lifetime and participate in the Beehive Classic in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend. After a late change in plans and cancellations of air travel that was initially to be provided by the tournament's sponsors, the Serra and Long Beach Poly boys were left with two choices.

The first option was to hop on a bus for the 24 hour journey through the desert to Utah that would have resulted in missing an extra day of school. The second option was to stay at home in sunny Southern California to play a great game of football against each other. Both schools obviously chose the latter.

Serra Head Coach Scott Altenberg expressed frustration that his team wouldn't be able to get the experience of traveling out of the state for a football game, but luckily for many members of the Cavaliers squad, traveling out of state on road games will soon become the norm.

In all fairness, the experience for a high school team to be able to travel on an airplane together to compete out of state would have been an invaluable experience for both Gardena Serra and Long Beach Poly, along with their coaches, parents, alumni and fans.

"I think it was because of sponsors. I don't really know the details of it, but I know we were supposed to go to Utah and something happened with the sponsors. Now we're playing (Long Beach) Poly," Serra defensive back Adoree' Jackson (DB/2014) told yesterday.

Junior defensive back and return specialist Adoree' Jackson (DB/2014) is looking forward to the matchup against Long Beach Poly. Jackson, a Gardena Serra HS tri-sport student-athlete, definitely doesn't shy away from the competition.

"Really, it's kind of an honor. Just to have two big games and put ourselves to the test and see how good we really are. Because you know everybody has been talking about how good we are, but now we have to come out and perform to see how good we really are. I know our coaching staff and a lot of teams from the past, all they talk about is playing LB Poly. Serra vs. Poly. It's pretty nice just to get an opportunity to play a team like LB Poly," Adoree' says.

In reference to the 10,000 or more people they are expecting at this Friday's matchup between Gardena Serra and Long Beach Poly, the junior commented, "they said this would be something similar to how many people were at the Oaks Christian game."

Adoree' Jackson made the trek from Midwest (Illinois) all the way out to the West Coast, and for good reason. After making a splash with the Belleville East High School Knights, the Gardena Serra junior baller had his sights set on California.

"Actually, I came out here for track," says Adoree'. "Really that's my main passion. My eighth grade year I went 21 feet 11 inches in the long jump and my freshman year I went 23 feet 11 inches."

Jackson has big dreams with track and field and the long jump has become somewhat of an art form for the rising prep athlete.

"The first time I started track in the eight grade I told my coach I wanted to go to the Olympics," Jackson told

Believe it or not, Jackson's goals are not too far fetched.

The Serra junior may as well be the second coming of "Primetime," or for the sake of a Bo Jackson reference, "Adoree' Knows" may soon become a marketable slogan.

"I wanted to play all three (sports) anyway, and then they (Serra) asked me if I wanted to play football, and then I tried out for the basketball team," Adoree' told CLA.

"I think when I came out to California it was really a good thing. I came out here to get my name out there and get more exposure. It just happened to work out well, then I ended up playing football, and that's going well. I play basketball too, so we'll see how that works out. I've been playing basketball since I was three years old. Hoops was my main sport since I was three," he expressed.

"I'm hopefully going to get some PT (playing time) on the court, but right now I'm not really focused on that (basketball)," said Jackson.

Adoree' knows all too well about the history of recent Serra graduates and current USC Trojans Marqise Lee and George Farmer, who were members of the Cavaliers' 2010 CIF State Championship basketball and football teams. In accomplishing this feat in 2010, Gardena Serra became the first high school in the history of California to win state titles in football and basketball in the same calendar school year.

"I think we could pull that off. I think we could do that (win state title) for all three sports, with basketball, football and track," Jackson told College Level Athletes.

Jackson is naturally confident, and has every right to be, in our opinion. After winning the 2012 CIF State track & field long jump title on his first jump as a sophomore, and being the first Cali prep to jump over 26 feet in the last ten years, Adoree' is poised to help the Cavaliers make history.

"That's something that everybody talks about. The fans and the coaches and stuff. We have enough talented players and team players, that we could pull it off," Jackson said.

The 2012 Serra HS football team can obviously compete on the gridiron, and after a victory over California state-ranked (8) Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) in week one, anything is possible.

Although Adoree' Jackson gets his shine on, don't get it twisted. Don't look for Adoree' to keep the limelight from shining on his teammates, as the Gardena Serra DB is the model teammate.

"It feels good to know that you have good teammates. You know how pop-warner was when you were considered like 'the man' and you had to do everything. Going into high school you know that you have a role, and defense is my main role," he says emphatically.

The internet age has written an entirely new story when it comes to student-athletes, sports recruiting, and high school and collegiate athletics. The rise of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have allowed the nation's top prep athletes to become overnight sensations based on one viral (YouTube video that results in a tsunami-like flood of friend requests and new followers that can instantly overwhelm a young student-athlete not prepared for the fame.

That being said, it's great to see an up and coming student-athlete like Adoree' Jackson, who doesn't let success go to his head.

"It's good to have teammates to support you even when you come off a downfall or a minor setback," Jackson continued. "It's also good for those teammates to boost you up, instead of bring you down. It's good to have them to perform, as well. I don't want to bring them down if they make a mistake. I want to bring them backup so they can keep performing," he says.

Jackson made a mistake in the game versus Notre Dame last week that could have sent a team with less resiliency cowering into a corner. Instead, after Adoree' muffed a punt late in the second half that led to a Kelly Hilinski (QB/2013) touchdown pass and a Notre Dame lead, his Serra teammates were right there to have his back."

"I knew everything was alright when my teammate, Malachi Mageo (LB/2013)… the first thing he did was pick me up and said, 'it's alright Money' …he calls me Money. He said 'it's alright Money' and he picked me up. It was good to hear that people weren't just yelling at you like 'you're weak' or 'you cost us this game' or 'you suck' or anything like that," Jackson told

"It was good for him (Mageo) to show that confidence by just picking me up from the pile and helping me out. Then on the sidelines with the fans and coaches telling me it's alright, and again for myself. I know I have to have a short term memory out there on the field, so I just put that behind me and came back and tried to make another play for my teammates," said Jackson.

Serra knew that Notre Dame was going to be no walk in the park. But, I don't really think they expected seven lead changes and a 3-0 halftime score. Nonetheless, it's a long off season and Serra had a lot of time to think about their 2012 week one matchup.

"We wanted to give them the respect (Notre Dame) because they did beat us last year. But at the same time, we knew we had been preparing all summer, week after week for this game. We knew what we had to do and then we came and performed," Jackson told CLA.

In 2011 against Gardena Serra, Notre Dame running back Khalfani Muhammad (RB/2013) went nuts. The lightning quick senior Muhammad rushed for 155 yards and two scores (including a 69 yard scamper that was called back due to a holding penalty) in Notre Dame's 2011 upset of the Serra Cavaliers.

In 2012, although Muhammad racked up over 120 yards on the ground, the Cavaliers defense was stingy and held the Arkansas Razorbacks recruit in check for much of the evening.

"We tried to contain him as well as we could (Muhammad), and you can see that we did because he didn't run all over us like he did last year and score two touchdowns. They all are good players, we just stepped up that much more as a defense," Jackson told

"For this game (LB Poly), preparing is the same as every week. Just really being focused and knowing that you have to be mental. Don't make mental mistakes because they're just like us. They're athletic, fast, you know… the whole nine. So, we have to be more mentally prepared and not make the mental mistakes. We just have to stay together as a team, like we did against Notre Dame.

Stay-tuned for the second half of the interview next week, along with the actual CLA podcast.