GAMBRILLS, Md. — At Arundel High School outside of Baltimore, Friday nights in the fall mean football. But on a Friday night two weeks ago, after he put on his uniform, senior Jackson Dean Nicholson picked up his guitar.
Jackson’s country version of the national anthem went viral and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.
“Oh, they went insane. They went insane. It was cool. The team had no idea that’s what it was going to be,” Nicholson said. “They weren’t expecting it to be that different and they didn’t know that I could sing.”
After he graduates from high school, the 18-year-old says he wants to pursue a career not in football, but in music. These days, when you hear anthem and football, you tend to think controversy. Jackson says that didn’t enter his mind.
“A lot of kids that go here, their parents are active military. It was really an honor really to be able to go out there and do that for them,” he said.
Jackson helped the Wildcats win on their way to the playoffs. But athletic director Kevin Necessary said his biggest contribution came before the opening kickoff.
“Friday nights around here are special and I think Jackson adding to that is a real special thing that no one is going to forget,” he said.
© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.