Huerta hopes for a championship


CWU Athletics

Senior Jackson Huerta is in his final season with the Wildcats. So far this season, he has recorded 45 tackles in games.

Simo Rul, Senior Sports Editor

CWU Athletics
Senior Jackson Huerta is in his final season with the Wildcats. So far this season, he has recorded 45 tackles in games.

The road to CWU was never easy; Jackson Huerta was overlooked by many universities and had no offers coming out of high school. He was a walk-on at CWU.

On top of all of that, the Wildcats were going through a coaching change when Huerta first arrived. He came in the same year head coach Ian Shoemaker was hired.

“I went through two tryouts with the first head coach to prove that I could be on the team and once coach Shoemaker came in, I had to tryout again and basically show that I could play,” Huerta said. “I’ve always kind of had a chip on my shoulder. I was looked over by a lot of these schools. Going out and proving that I can play at a high level is what I try and do every day for myself and my team.”

Huerta picked up football when he was six, but didn’t play tackle football until he was in the fourth grade.

Huerta attended Kentwood high school, where he played football and basketball. He grew up watching sports at Kentwood. He went to state for basketball one year and twice for football. When he graduated, Huerta held two receiving records and two defensive records.

Huerta and his siblings have all gone to Kentwood. He has been around the school for a long time and enjoys going back to watch games at his former high school.

His older sister Kylie won a state championship in basketball in 2009. Huerta’s younger brother, Koby, captured a state championship in basketball in 2016. He saw his siblings win state titles in high school and now he’s hoping to do the same at CWU.

“I always get crap from these other guys that I’m the only one who didn’t win a state championship,” Huerta said. “My mindset was to get one here, even if it’s just a GNAC, and I just want to be apart of a championship team. Hopefully we can do that this year.

This being Huerta’s senior year doesn’t hold any added importance, instead he looks at overall success of the season from a team perspective.

“We have the same motivation every year, we just want to win. We came here knowing Central was a top program in the country,” Huerta said. “We’re kind of in that spot to put them back on the map, and get them going again. We want to leave that as our senior legacy.”

Huerta is second on the team in tackles and has played an important role for the Wildcats.

“He’s a big part of [what the Wildcats are trying to do this season], he’s kind of always in the fray. He moves around from spot to spot. We’re always putting him where the action is,” defensive coach Nate Johnson said.

The coaching staff believes in Huerta and he is thankful to be put into situations where he can make plays. The big thing for him is to go out there and execute, and make plays when those situations occur.

Although Huerta did play as quarterback before, he is now making an impact on the defensive side of the ball for the nationally ranked Wildcats, and has enjoyed his four years at CWU.

“It’s been a great experience. I’ve loved being at Central these last four years and this quarter,” Huerta said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything, football has been all I’ve done since I’ve been here. I’ve enjoyed it. [It’s] kept me busy.”

Senior linebacker Kevin Haynes and Huerta came to CWU four years ago. Haynes enjoys Huerta’s presence because he loves football, enjoys being around his teammates and knows how to make jokes in stressful times.

“He’s just been a good friend,” Haynes said. “I can always go to and talk to [him] when I need to.”

Huerta and Haynes squared off in high school during the playoffs. They knew of each other a little bit. Once they got to CWU, their friendship grew. They became great friends, were roommates and have built a friendship that will last a lifetime. Haynes wouldn’t have it any other way.