Crenshaw senior Jeremiah Blackmon competes on the boys’ basketball and football team (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Crenshaw senior Jeremiah Blackmon plays basketball and football for the Cougars. He helped the football team win a Division III City Section championship in 2022. This season, the Cougars had a 11-3 overall record and led the Coliseum League with a 4-1 record.

The Cougars went on a deep run in the Division I playoffs, reaching the championship game where they fell 28-35 against the Banning Pilots. Blackmon noted how naysayers berated their Division III championship and how the 2023 season was a “revenge tour.”

“Everybody we lost to last year, we beat them,” Blackmon said. “We came up short in the championship but that was my proudest moment. Every game with my teammates.”

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Blackmon began playing football as a junior in high school but he began playing basketball during his middle school years. Last season, he helped the Cougars boys’ basketball team reach the Open Division semifinals where they lost to Fairfax 74-71. However, the team would suffer a greater loss when fellow teammate Quincy Reese Jr. was murdered in June 2023. These things motivated Blackmon during this past basketball season.

“Life gives you challenges, you got to overcome them. You get stronger from it, your mental gets stronger as well,” Blackmon said. “You got to keep pushing forward, you got to learn to enjoy yourself being alone, you got to learn to adapt to different things.”

Competing on both teams taught Blackmon leadership skills. Learning how to be coachable helped improve his game.

“You have people that is not as motivated as you are in the sport and sometimes that can affect your person or how you play on the field,” Blackmon said. “I started learning that sometimes you got to keep on telling them.”

Blackmon knows that being a student athlete means that academics are the top priority.

“You have to stay on task because it’s a lot of distractions, especially in certain areas and environments,” he said. “Sometimes you’re gonna succumb to those distractions but you got to hop right back on track.”

Balancing academics and athletics is a hard task. Being a student athlete requires mental toughness and time management, according to Blackmon.

“You have to get up early, go home late, workout and you got to listen to your coaches talk to you,” he said. “Sometimes the stuff they say is gonna hurt.”

While competing at a high level this school year, Blackmon was taking two college courses. His favorite class was his sociology college course.

“My professor, he’s a real down to earth type of dude,” Blackmon said. “He’s from this area so he’s not scared to tell you the truth.”