It was a great weekend of achievement at Jackson Memorial High School as the Marching Jaguars won the US Bands National Championship and the football team earned the Shore Conference Class A South division title.


The band with their championship trophy at MetLife Stadium (Bud McCormick)

The Jaguars, led by Bud McCormick, scored a 96.3 out of a possible 100 to beat out band from Cleveland, (96.262), Scotch Plains-Fanwood (96.063), New Providence (95.313), Bunnell Stratford, Connecticut (91.325) and Fort Lee (89.337) with their performance of music from Les Miserables at MetLife Stadium on Saturday night.

The band also earned Best Music & Best Percussion honors  as well as 2nd place guard, 2nd place visual and 2nd place General Effect.

Ever hear the quote: "Jackson Rules?" asks McCormick, a recent inductee into the National High School Band Director's Hall Of Fame.  "Well, this year at JMHS, not only the Football Team, and Girls Cross Country won their Divisions, but our Jackson Jaguar Band  not only won our States, but won the national championships! Congrats to all the Parents, the Students, the fans, for all of your support."

The Jaguars have had an exciting year, marching in the Tournament of Roses parade, President Obama's inaugural parade and the Miss America Parade. They are scheduled to march in the Cherry Blossom Parade in the spring.

Jackson Memorial football team celebrates winning the Class A South title (Cliff Lavelle, Clear Edge Photos)


Jackson Jaguars (Cliff Lavelle, Clear Edge Photos)

On the field, Jackson Memorial topped Brick 9-7 to clinch the Shore Conference Class A South division title. It is the seventh division championship for the Jaguars (6-2, 6-1) and first since 2005 (American Division) when they also won the last of their three state sectional titles.

Sophomore kicker Jared Calhoun connected on a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter and senior running back Khani Glover ran for a second-quarter touchdown to give the Jaguars the lead, and their defense buckled down late in the game to seal victory. Ray Fattaruso ran for 103 yards and scored a fourth-quarter touchdown for the Dragons (6-3, 5-2), who had their bid to claim their first division crown since 2008 denied. Fattaruso touched the ball on nearly every play in the second half after quarterback Joe Phillips, who started again in place of injured junior Carmen Sclafani, had to leave with an injury.

Shore Sports Network's Scott Stump in his playoff pairing prediction expects the Jaguars to play at  home against Rancocas Valley, the 6 seed of the South Jersey Group V bracket, in the first round

“As long as we stay healthy I think it’s a realistic goal to be in the South Jersey final,” Jaguar Ken Bradley said.

The playoffs start next week, but for now the Jaguars can celebrate coming out on top of the Shore’s toughest division. When the season began Jackson wasn’t really in the discussion among the teams expected to contend for the A South title. But at the end, they were the last team standing.

“You always have to come out (expecting to compete for a division title),” senior running back Khani Glover said. “We went 3-7 last year but that means nothing. We wanted to come out here and surprise the Shore, and I think we did.”

Bob Badders contributed to this report.