Tuesday, July 23, 2024

St. Joe’s football championship game hero Jett Hudson will return to site of victory at Carleton U

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By Kaitlyn LeBoutillier

It was the last play of the fourth quarter, third-and-goal on the one-yard line to decide it all, in Jett Hudson’s final national capital high school football league game.

His St. Joseph Jaguars had lost in the championship game the previous two years, they’d lost to their opponents 46-14 earlier in the season, and they’d been down 20-7 at halftime.

But when Hudson met the St. Matthew Tigers quarterback at the line of scrimmage to instigate a pile-up of bodies short of the end zone, it allowed his underdog team to taste the title.

Jett Hudson (#58) stops St. Matthew short in the 2023 national capital high school football final. File photo

“Playing high school football was an amazing experience for me,” Hudson reflects, just days away from graduating Grade 12 at St. Joe’s. “Being able to be captain of the team and winning a city championship with my best buds after a three-year finals drought, it was incredible.”

Read More: St. Joseph holds off St. Matthew at goal line on last play to complete NCSSAA football final comeback

The site of the Jaguars’ triumph on a late-November day last fall was at Carleton University, where Hudson now plans to spend the next four years as a member of the Ravens varsity football team.

Playing university football had become a dream of Hudson’s while he lined up for the Nepean Eagles, Ottawa Sooners, Bel-Air Lions, Cumberland Panthers and St. Joseph Jaguars, although he got his start in sport playing hockey, like many young Canadian kids.

“I was a hockey player before a football player,” recounts Hudson, who realized as a pre-teen that he was “getting too big too fast, and was starting to slow down talent-wise in hockey.”

So he entered football when he was in Grade 6, which proved to be a wise choice for the athlete who now stands 6’5″ tall and weighs over 300 lbs.

While the Jaguars called on their top lineman to come up with a big play in the biggest moment on defence, Hudson usually lines up on offensive side of the ball, where he’s earned plenty of recognition in recent years.

Jett Hudson. Photo: Instagram

He made the all-city second team in his Grade 10 year at St. Joe’s, he was an Ontario Football Conference all-star come age 16 with the Ottawa Sooners, and he was chosen to play for Ontario in the 2022 Canada Cup.

Hudson also played in local high school all-star and CanadaFootballChat.com prospect games, and made the Canadian Junior Football League’s top-50 players list in 2023.

He received university offers from St Mary’s, St. Francis-Xavier and York, and drew some interest from U.S. schools, but joining Carleton was the natural choice for Hudson.

He’d already been coached in youth football by several members of the Ravens’ staff, including offensive line coaches Matt Lapointe and Val St. Germain, a former CFLer of 14 years, as well as runningbacks coach Frank Farinaccio.

“My commitment to Carleton was an easy one,” he highlights. “I knew it would be the best place for me to grow.”

While Hudson’s future is certainly bright, the road to get there hasn’t always been rosy. Suffering a knee dislocation during a Team Ontario practice was a particularly tough moment, he recalls.

“I’ve had a few setbacks in my football journey,” indicates Hudson, who now looks back at the injury as a learning experience. “The lesson being I can beat any situation, as long as I keep working and not giving up on myself.”

Jett Hudson was confident he’d stopped his opponents short as he awaited the final spot that would decided the 2023 national capital high school football championship game. File photo

Winning a championship in his senior season and earning a trip to Windsor for the OFSAA Bowl Series provided great final memories from his time at St. Joe’s, though Hudson says he gained plenty more from his career with the Jaguars beyond that.

“Another thing high school taught me was it pushed me to be more of a leader-type figure in football,” he signals. “[You] have to teach people who haven’t played before how to get better, and for me it pushed me to be a leader and a role model to the younger [players].”

A big part of being a leader was showcasing the mantra that’s been key to his own success – constantly challenging himself to be better than he was yesterday.

“My favourite thing about the sport is seeing progress in yourself as you go,” Hudson underlines, “and being able to hit people without consequence is pretty cool too.”

Read More of our 2024 High School Best Series, presented by Louis-Riel Sports-Études, as we tip our caps to top local student-athletes at: OttawaSportsPages.ca/Ottawa-High-School-Best-2024

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