Ed. Note- Jackson Yeager is the latest feature athlete in the weekly summer series in the Tippecanoe Gazette.
Before he graduates from Tippecanoe High School, Jackson Yeager may well be remembered for his highlights on both the football field on Friday nights, or his time with the Red Devils tennis team. But one thing that is guaranteed to always be remembered is his time away from the field, and helping others.
Yeager enters his junior year at Tippecanoe with a love for both sports, but his passion has always been on the gridiron suiting up for the Red Devils.
“Although I love tennis, football has been my passion for a long time,” Yeager said. “I thank God every day for giving me the ability to play the sport that I love. My first and favorite highlight comes from the Piqua JV game last year when Senior Seth "the Tron" Monnin caught a slant in the end zone over 2 defenders. Our sideline had never gone that crazy before.”
“My second highlight was from the Miamisburg game my freshman year. We were losing in the fourth quarter and Daniel Hagen, a player in the class above me, blocked two different guys in one play as I ran my longest career touchdown.”
“The influences in my life leading me to play football were my best friends and my dad. I have been a football fan for as long as I can remember and I just have a passion for the sport.”
“I can attribute my tennis involvement to one player on the team, Colin Achterberg. He is the varsity first singles player and he sat next to me in sixth period.”
Achterberg would constantly ask Yeager to try out for the tennis team, and every time, the Red Devils junior would have an excuse.
“I would respond saying how I don't have the time and stuff like that. But he kept on asking. And I finally went to the first practice with him and I fell in love with the sport.”
Yeager has been working hard with the summer lifting program to prepare for the football season, and constantly works hard to improve his tennis skills, as both Achterberg and several other players would go to the courts to improve, but coach Kaci Matthews would work with him as well.
“To be the best player I can be I focus on my backhand and my footwork,” he said. “These are the two weak points of my game and I will work at improving them until they are my strongpoints.”
He has already set goals for both sports, and he is working hard to make them happen.
“I would like the football team to make the playoffs for the thirteenth year straight,” he said. “For the tennis team, I would like us to compete at the level that we can, to utilize all of our talent because we have a lot of it. For myself I just like to be the best player I can and contribute to the teams’ victory.”
While only time will tell what kind of success that Yeager will achieve in his athletic ventures with the Red Devils, he has already proven to be a strong leader outside of his sports at Tippecanoe.
Yeager is heavily involved in mission work with his church, Tipp City United Methodist.
“This past January my youth leader asked me to go on a scouting trip down to Rainelle, West Virginia where there was a flood in June of 2016,” Yeager said. “We went down there and I immediately felt the pain of those who were affected by the flood. And Christ called to me and led me to Krista Williams. She, ASP (Appalachia Service Project), and the Rainelle Long Term Recovery Committee have been working tirelessly to get the community back on its feet.”
“My church, Tipp City United Methodist Church, partnered with ASP to build a brand new home for a family that lost everything in the flood.”
“I lead a team down to Rainelle on June 7th to start work on this new house. But the house was just a small part of the mission in Rainelle. Our goal was to partner with and build relationships with the people of Rainelle.”
Yeager also joined two of his closest friends Logan Oskey and Bailey Flohre for an outreach team that went out into the community and set up, with the help of a very strong mentor Brian Oskey, a movie night in the park with hot dogs and popcorn and football and kickball.
“The children of the community had a blast and watching the younger student, whom it was my mission to disciple, just laugh and have fun with the community warmed my heart,” he said. Meanwhile at the jobsite, another one of Yeager’s closest friends Evan Hicks, made huge strides when it came to construction.
“He came on this trip barely knowing anything about carpentry and with the help of all the amazing adult leaders he was able to leave Rainelle looking like a house framer of 20 years.” Besides West Virginia, Yeager also helps run Vacation Bible School and is an active Christ follower.
“He gives me the strength to be able to do everything I do,” the Tippecanoe student said. “I thank him every day for the opportunities I have and the ones he has given me. I also thank him for all of the wonderful people in my life.”
Yeager also is a chemistry and Spanish tutor, and in college plans to major in either chemistry, physics or mechanical engineering, with a minor in radar frequency.