Los Cerritos Elementary School students

Meet South City High's Newest National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete

South City High senior Payton Jackson ('24) played wide receiver and cornerback for South City High's 2023 championship football team.
The Northern California chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (NFF) has recognized South City High senior Payton Jackson (’24) as a 2024 NFF High School Scholar-Athlete.
Along with the designation comes a $1,000 scholarship and an invitation to attend the Northern California NFF and College Hall of Fame dinner on March 16, 2024.
“It feels great to know that all our hard work could be honored in this way,” said Payton. “I’m grateful to my teammates and my coaches. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Payton currently has a 4.2 grade point average (GPA). 
He attends classes at South City High through Skyline College’s Middle College program and hopes to attend UC Berkeley, UCLA, or Stanford.
As a wide receiver and defensive back on the Warriors’ 2023 football team, Payton helped his team win a record 12 games en route to the Central Coast Section (CCS) division 5 football championship.
The victory brought South City High its third CCS football championship in school history. 
“The biggest thing I learned from football is handling adversity,” Payton said. “Like during COVID, we didn’t even have a full season and didn’t have a winning team, but staying committed and motivated made it feel that much better when we finally won our first game and, of course, when we won the championship.” 
Payton said he never played tackle football until he came to South City High. 
He said he initially tried out for the team as a freshman, so he could spend time with his friends, but he grew to love the sport, despite the program’s near demise in 2021. 
“As I went to more practices, I grew to love football and wanted to stick to it every day,” said Payton. “There’s just something about having the pads and helmet and the energy with my teammates. It something that you can’t recreate in other sports.” 
The Northern California NFF awards 24 scholarships annually.
Recipients are selected by a committee of educators, high school sports officials, and sportswriters in 12 Northern California counties.
Nominees must possess an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher and play football in their senior year of high school.
NFF’s scholar-athletes are evaluated on football ability, academic achievement, performance, attitude, and leadership and citizenship in their school and community.