Senior all-state lineman Jackson Powell plays with grit that should set the tone for the Palmyra football team this season.
Jackson Powell pauses for a moment before describing the type of player he tries to be on the football field.
A grin comes across his face.
“I guess I try to be mean and nasty as much as I can,” said the returning all-state lineman for Palmyra. “I try to be aggressive. That's how you play football.”
Powell is a senior leader for the Panthers entering the 2018 campaign, which opens Friday at home against Brookfield.
Palmyra returns a wealth of experience on its offensive line, for which Powell served as the center during last year's 9-3 finish. Michael Frankenbach is also back for his senior season, with Weston King, Kole Dieterich and Jackson Lundberg primed for key roles.
“We return everybody off the offensive line so we all know what we're doing,” Powell said. “We all know how to get it done.”
Powell, undersized on the line at 6-foot, 185 pounds, makes up for any disadvantage with a surplus of speed and athleticism.
The standout also serves as an intimidating presence on the defensive line after recording 11 tackles for loss last season.
“Jackson is a go-getter,” Palmyra coach Kevin Miles said. “He's a quality leader on both sides of the ball for us. He tends to be very aggressive. You've got to have your fair share of that to be successful.
“He's a wild card in a good way.”
There is such depth on the line that one offensive lineman from a year ago will play a different position this year.
Brady Barnett is primed to get carries as a complementary option to speedster Jarom Alexander. Barnett is projected as a bruiser who can get tough yards with his 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame.
“It helps Brady to know how we're blocking things since he played offensive line last year,” Powell said. “He knows where the holes are going to be and how to hit them hard.”
Powell is optimistic that a successful season is ahead and looks forward to the rigors of the Clarence Cannon Conference.
The conference includes reigning Class 1 champion Monroe City and Class 2 Final Four team Clark County.
“The CCC is the best conference around,” Powell said. “The best, meanest teams who just know how to get stuff done. It prepares us for the postseason and hopefully the state game.”