Kyle Jackson hasn’t won the quarterback battle at Central Catholic, but he will start the season opener at Clovis West on Friday evening.
Coach Roger Canepa announced his decision just hours before the top-ranked Raiders kicked off the 2018 season against a Division I heavyweight from the Central Section.
Jackson will start, but will platoon with junior transfer Dalton Durossette.
“Both are going to play. I don’t know if we’re doing quarters or halves, but it’s that close,” Canepa said. “We have to see them both in action. That’s what the preseason is for.”
Dylan Everhard has shown the most growth in the group through the offseason, but Canepa said it became increasingly harder to find snaps in practice for the left-handed junior. Everhard will play wide receiver and defensive back, and remain an emergency option should Jackson and Durossette suffer an injury.
That’s how Jackson got his shot last season. He stepped in for senior Theo Azevedo during the Holy Bowl rivalry game with St. Mary’s. He helped lead the Raiders to a 20-7 victory and then won his next six starts, including a 31-14 triumph over his hometown Manteca Buffaloes in their Valley Oak League opener.
His season stopped by Oakdale in the regular season finale. Jackson suffered a gruesome knee injury while scrambling in a 27-21 loss. He missed the postseason.
Jackson had 425 passing yards and five touchdowns in seven starts. He also rushed for 178 yards and three scores. More importantly, he was 6-1 as a starter.
Canepa says Jackson has a better mastery of the offense, but believes Durossette, a highly-touted baseball player, has done enough to extend the battle.
Durossette transferred from Ceres High in the spring. He is a three-sport athlete with a stunning credentials.
As a freshman pitching at the varsity level, Durossette tossed a no-hitter against Livingston. As a sophomore quarterback, he threw for 1,632 yards, 15 touchdowns and established himself as one of the premier punters in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
“They’re close,” Canepa said. “I think we’ll be OK. They’ll play the same amount and we’ll see who wins it. I’m going to let them battle it out, because I think it’s that close.”