Snyder, players remember Sammy Jackson as ‘perfect teammate’

Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The emotions of Goshen football players and coaches have changed almost by the minute since they received the tragic news of the passing of Sammy Jackson Saturday morning.

Minutes and hours after Jackson was killed at his home, players took to social media to express their grief and anger, but as the days wore on the tweets turned more light-hearted as the group began to remember the good times they all had.

“Probably the best time ever was just the other day for the playoff game,” said senior wide receiver Marquell Gibbs. “We stopped at the park, and we all played on the swings and slides like we were kids. Sammy was always in the middle of us having fun.”

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Jackson, while not a starter for the Eagles, was a player that Goshen head coach Bart Snyder said he will remember forever.

“He was a guy that was just the perfect teammate,” Snyder said. “He was always doing what ever it took to get better, and was always encouraging the guys around him to do it the right way. Sammy Jackson was a fantastic young man to be around, and I know I am lucky to have coached him.”

The Eagles were eliminated from the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs Friday night in Sweet Water. Snyder said the “suddenness” of Jackson’s death is one thing that makes it harder.

“To be with him Friday night, and in to the early morning on our trip home, and then have him gone is tough,” said Snyder. “We were all looking forward to talking as a team on Tuesday.”

Jackson’s death is the second loss for the Goshen Eagle family in the past six weeks. Long-time Lady Eagle softball and volleyball coach Dee Hughes passed away in September.

However, one Goshen athlete feels the community has become closer through the tragedies.

“We are Goshen strong,” said Denzil Green, a senior football and basketball player. “Goshen is a place where we love and care for everybody. We are closer together now, than we have ever been and we were a close-knit group before.”

Snyder agrees.

“I have been in Goshen for all of my life, and this is a very special place,” said Snyder. “These kids are tough and they have had to face death before. We always come closer together. It is one of the good things about being out here in the country, you always have someone to lean on.”