Recent Spotsylvania High School graduate Jackson Dobson died in an ATV accident last week.

Spotsylvania mourns recent graduate who put in work — on and off the football field

by | Jun 4, 2024 | ALLFFP, High school sports, Schools & Education, Spotsylvania

When Jeremy Jack attended Spotsylvania High School’s graduation on May 19, the Knights’ former football coach shared a moment with standout defensive end Jackson Dobson. 

They greeted each other with a handshake and a hug as Dobson thanked Jack for being a positive influence in his life and helping him along the way. 

Dobson was the Knights’ sacks leader in 2023 and also led the team in tackles. He was not planning to play college football, instead going into the workforce to continue to help his mother and three siblings — a role he took on following the death of his father last year. 

Dobson’s life was tragically cut short at age 17 last Thursday, however, as the result of an ATV accident in Spotsylvania, less than two weeks after graduation day. Dobson’s friend survived the accident but he succumbed to his injuries at VCU Medical Center in Richmond.

Jack remembered a young man with a bright smile who was passionate about football, but even more so about the people closest to him. 

“I told his teammates last week that there was never a question if we were getting his best efforts,” Jack said of Dobson. “We would break the huddle on ‘family!’ He treated us like family, and he gave us everything that he had when he was at practice and when he was at the games. He poured himself 100% into that.” 

Jack said there was only one concern when coaching Dobson — teaching him how to channel his emotions in the right direction. In addition to being a defensive end, he played tight end for the Knights. His teammates voted him defensive MVP. 

Dobson wasn’t the biggest, fastest or strongest player, Jack said, but he always gave maximum effort and played with an edge. 

“He definitely wore his heart on his sleeve,” Jack said. “There were times we had to pull him off the field because his emotions were so great. We always told him, ‘You can’t let your emotions control you.’ He took that coaching. He understood that and was always working to master that aspect of himself because he was an emotional player.”

Jackson Dobson was named the Spotsylvania High School football team’s defensive MVP after leading the team in sacks in 2023. (Photo courtesy of the Spotsylvania Knights Football Facebook page)

Jack said Dobson was also a hard worker off the field. The coaching staff understood there were times during offseason conditioning sessions that he may have to work to assist his family.  

A crowdfunding campaign on Gofundme.com is helping to raise funds for the Dobson family. He is survived by his mother, Teresa Dobson, two younger brothers and an older sister. 

Kaitlyn Dileo, who works in the Spotsylvania County school system, started the crowdfunding effort, writing that Dobson was “one of the most loving, caring, kind-hearted souls to walk the earth.” 

“He would always go above and beyond to make sure that his family was taken care of,” Dileo wrote. 

Dileo’s post was shared 138 times on Facebook and as of Monday afternoon, she raised $10,715, well above the $8,500 she was seeking to assist the family. 

Jackson’s funeral will be held Saturday at Mullins and Thompson Funeral Service in Fredericksburg. A viewing will take place from 3-5 p.m. with services starting at 5 p.m.

Jack noted that Dobson was an organ donor and, in lieu of flowers, the family is asking that supporters contribute to Donate Life America, an organization that unites donation and transplantation organizations with patients and families. The Knights’ former coach penned a message to the Spotsylvania football program requesting that current and future players honor his memory by always giving their best. 

“May we live out our lives in memory of the way Jackson competed in his – with our hearts on our sleeves and giving our best effort in service of others,” Jack said. 

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