Sports

Q&A: Wide receiver Jackson Brand brings home the win

Dave Wolk stadium saw an electrifying game on Saturday as the Spartans faced off against the Privateers of SUNY Maritime in a key ECFC matchup. A key component of the second half comeback was sophomore wide receiver Jackson Brand, who’s been terrorizing defenses all year with his play-making abilities. After an amazing comeback, Brand shares his experience leading up to the game winning touchdown late in the fourth. 

Q: After a tough loss in Gallaudet the week before, how important was it to bounce back and having a good week of practice? 

A: After the loss to Gallaudet, we all knew we had to win out the rest of the season starting with SUNY Maritime. We all knew how important it was this week to lock in and have a great week of practice. 

Q: How did you mentally prepare heading into this game? What music did you listen to? Any pregame superstitions that you had to do before taking the field?

A: I mentally prepared by getting into the film room and watching the defenders facing up against me for the week. Reading keys and realizing that my speed was going to benefit my play-making ability will allow me to disrupt the defense. I don’t have any pregame superstitions, but I do listen to Sleepy Hallow and Sheff G before every game. Some of my favorite songs that get me ready are “Breaking Bad”, “I get Luv”, and “Different.” 

Q: SUNY Maritime has had Castleton’s number since 2016, beating the Spartans for 6 years. How important to the team, especially juniors and seniors, was it to finally get a win? 

A: The older guys made it clear how badly they wanted to win this game. Castleton hasn’t been able to get the job done over the past few years and it was time for a change. That’s what motivated me to help the seniors finally get a win over these guys. It was a special moment for something like that to happen for us. 

Q: Being down at the end of the half, what conversations and changes were made to help the offense light it up in the second half? 

A: Being down at half, our offense needed to adjust before the second half. In the locker room, we discussed the success of the run game and wanted to pound the rock. Establishing the run game will help us set up the pass game that we needed to put points on the board. Those pass plays didn’t have enough time to develop, and we had guys open to make plays. We needed to execute better all-around to make these plays happen. 

Q: After going down late in the fourth quarter, what was the plan for the offense to bring the team back into this game? 

A: After going down late, we had no other choice but to start passing the ball and quickly move the ball downfield in hurry-up offense. Our passing game was electric in the second half, and we could finally use this to our advantage. They had a rough time with adjusting in the secondary, so it was time to make another big play.  

Q: The last drive saw you make two big catches including the game winning touchdown. What were your thoughts throughout the drive creating opportunities for your offense to score and retake the lead? 

A: The last drive was fast paced as we started slinging the ball down the field. I wasn’t nervous at all because I knew we were going to win the game on that drive. I felt excited to be out there and have the game rely on the offense because I live for these moments. Making big time plays in big time moments is what we work for all year and that drive can attest to that.  

Q: How did it feel to make the game winning play to keep the Spartans in ECFC championship contention?  

A: That was an amazing feeling after making that catch because we knew what was at stake. Everyone on this team has one goal which is to win the ECFC championship and get a ring. Everyone picked up their attitudes up and started to surge with confidence that we will still have a chance at winning conference. The fans were the best part after the game showing lots of love for the game winning catch I had.   

Q: How much does the ECFC rookie of the week honors mean to you for a second time? Who or what has influenced your game to elevate each week propelling this offense to create big plays?  

A: The ECFC Rookie of the Week honor for the second time this year was awesome. I don’t pride myself on the awards I win, I pride myself on the amount of work I put in the off season to get myself into this position I’m at this season. The work fuels me to perform at my best on Saturday’s, giving all the reasons why I should be selected for this honor.