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Bassett a Positive Force for BHS Grid Squad

Sep 27, 2018 07:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

BHS Blackhawks football team captain Jacob Bassett

written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Sports Editor
Jacob Bassett is optimistic that the Bellingham High football team can deliver some positive results for the 2018 season. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior captain, who’s playing offensive tackle and linebacker in his third varsity season, has three goals that he’d like to see the Blackhawks achieve. Bassett (pictured right) wants to see the squad restore pride in the grid program and wants that pride to be accompanied by their compiling a winning record and qualifying for the playoffs. If those objectives are realized, he’d consider his final year of football a huge success.

So far, BHS is off to a mixed start, compiling a 1-1 record at Bulletin deadline.
When Bassett started as a sophomore in 2016, the Blackhawks went 5-6 and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the tourney format was implemented. “Achieving the three goals is realistic,” Bassett said. “We’ve got nine returning players on offense and eight on defense. We’ve also got a lot of experience and our players are talented.”

Bassett points to the trio of other captains and sees outstanding leaders who handle their positions effectively. The other captains are all seniors—Dan Gavin at guard and linebacker, Jim Kilduff at quarterback and cornerback and Zach Gabriel at center and defensive tackle.

“Dan leads by example, is adept at guard and linebacker and is a student of the game,” Bassett said. “Jim is a two-time captain who’s skilled as a passer and runner. He’s a good field general who’s always under control. Zach is a vocal leader who’s a great example for our younger players. He’s also highly talented.”

Bassett would relish another playoff berth because it would be an achievement for two of the last three years. “It would be awesome to say that this is the mark we left,” he emphasized. “The key, however, is to stay focused for the game at hand and take care of business one game at a time.”

During the 2016 playoff-bound season, Bassett experienced his best outing. As a sophomore, playing right tackle, he opened some key holes for running back Zach Levy in a game against Case that was record-setting. Levy scored seven touchdowns and scored all the points in a 48-38 victory. His 546 yards gained rushing was a state record.

“I had some good blocks downfield that enabled Zach to score,” Bassett recalled. “Three times he scored on blocks I made. But give him the credit because he had a great game and did an amazing job.”

Bassett is a talented captain and two-way competitor who leads by example and by being supportive. His coach, Dan Haddad, is a big fan of Bassett’s style and demeanor, having coached him since age seven in Pop Warner football.

“Jake is a superb leader,” Haddad said. “He’s supportive of all the players, never screaming if there’s a missed assignment. He’s a smart player, has good instincts, and is resilient and mentally tough. A lunch-pail type of player, Jake is an effective blocker on run and pass plays and he communicates well on blitzes and audibles. He moves well laterally and doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s also a very good contain linebacker.”

Bassett is quick to compliment Haddad and is fully aware of how committed his coach is to making BHS football a winner again. “Coach Haddad is a good teacher of the game and he’s committed to getting the football program back on track,” Bassett said. “He’s very motivating.”
Aggressive on offense and instinctive with his pursuits on defense, Bassett has a plethora of strengths that college scouts would admire. He has a high football IQ, he’s athletic and flexible, has size and strength and is a top-notch communicator; but he knows there’s still room to improve. “I can be better at adapting to various situations in the line and my read-and-react time at linebacker can improve,” he said. “My lateral quickness also can be better.”

The 17-year-old Bassett, who also plays basketball and baseball, isn’t sure where he’ll attend college or if he’ll continue with his gridiron career. On the academic front, he’ll have no worries—he’s a National Honor Society student. “I’m not sure which college I’ll attend or if I’ll play football,” he said. “I may major in business, but if I don’t play football in college, that’s okay.”

What definitely is okay is Bassett’s approach to competitive athletics. He ranks work ethic and reaching one’s potential as key ingredients in his philosophy. “Enjoying competition is important and giving your best and reaching your potential are what I focus on,” he said. “If those things occur, then winning likely will follow; and some of the life lessons that sports have taught me are the importance of teamwork, being resilient and striving to be a better leader.”

Calling his parents (Edward and Heidi) role models for their encouragement and for being at most of his games, Bassett has mixed emotions about his final year at BHS. “I’ve enjoyed competing in three sports but I’m also looking forward to the challenges that college will present,” he noted. “I’m glad I got to compete at BHS and I’ve enjoyed both athletics and academics.”

When he was a freshman, Bassett played fullback. Haddad, however, later installed him at tackle and linebacker because he wanted to play more. He’s become a solid two-way player and could be a candidate for the Tri Valley League’s all-star team. “Jake is definitely a college prospect,” Haddad said. “I’ve watched him compete for many years and he’s a joy to coach.”
Jacob Bassett has many top-notch attributes that make him an ideal student-athlete. He’s a leader who’s coachable, disciplined and committed to sports and the classroom.





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