He's far too competitive. Direct. No-nonsense.
"He's fearless," Newman coach Paul Cronin said. "Maybe too fearless."
But that's why he's beloved by teammates and respected by coaches. On either sideline. It's also why he's rushed for more than 700 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last 16 games. Not particularly fast, Pavitt picks his spots. Deciphers openings. Gets the most yardage possible.
And never slides.
Video: Highlights of Jackson PavittOver last 16 games, the Newman QB has accounted for 48 touchdowns, 15 wins
"The last time I did I hurt my knee," he said. Besides "I was taught to play football to finish runs on my own terms. That's what I try to do."
Said Cronin: "He's courageous. I think that's what we all love about him and what makes him a great leader. He brings his lunch pail to practice and gets to work. He's a tough dude."
But he's got a thoughtful, sensitive and creative side as well.
He plays the guitar and the piano at a high level.
"I've been playing since I was a kid," he said. "I love music. It's a good release."
He plays football for victims of the Middletown and Tubbs fires, both that caused his own family to evacuate their homes. The Tubbs Fire burned down half of Cardinal Newman, destroyed more than 2,500 homes and took at least 22 lives. Five of Pavitt's teammates lost their homes in the 2017 blaze.
"It affected everyone," Pavitt said. "It changed our lives and our perspective."
Pavitt changed his uniform number to 3 going into his junior season for another life-altering moment. He wears it in honor of former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who died in in Jan. of 2018 of a much-publicized suicide.
Pavitt is good friends with Newman senior baseball standout Andrew Lombardi
, who is first cousins with the Hilinski family.
"I was with (the Lombardis) the night they learned of Tyler's death," Pavitt said. "It was really, really sad. That's why the number three means so much to me. I want to honor (Hilinski) and his family every time I take the field."
All that honor and perspective add to Pavitt's lists of intangibles college recruiters need to look at, Cronin said.
Currently, the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has no offers, in stark contrast to Butterfield, who has 15. Nobody, certainly not Cronin, is implying Butterfield, a polished and strong-armed 6-6, 202-pound senior, isn't deserving of all his college attention.
The two will be matching skill levels when Newman (3-0) travels to Freedom (Oakley) to face the Lions (4-0), ranked 22nd in the state. Cronin, a former NAIA quarterback, raves about Butterfield's game.
"He can make every throw," Cronin said. "The way the ball comes off his fingertips is very impressive. On top of that, he's very poised out there."
But Pavitt is equally poised and certainly as productive as Butterfield, with probably less weapons.
Last season, Pavitt completed 154-of-200 passes for 2,494 yards, 30 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed for 552 and 11 more scores. Through three games in 2019, he's 47-of-71 for 701 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. He's rushed for 162 yards and a score.
In all, that's 3,809 total yards in 16 games (15 wins) and 48 touchdowns. Butterfield's totals since the start of 2018 is 4,016 total yards and 50 touchdowns in 18 games (17 wins).
Liberty coach Ryan Partridge, whose team won a state 1-A championship in 2018 and is 4-0 this season and ranked No. 23 in the state, thinks he has the best quarterback in Northern California. Still, he's very impressed with Pavitt.
"The offense is based around him, as it should be," Partridge said. "He's a tough kid, athletic, accurate and hard to defend. He's a special talent."
Cronin thinks so and over the last 15 years he's groomed some of the best signal-callers in the Bay Area, including Randy Wright (UC Davis), Kyle Wright (Texas-El Paso), Jordan Brookshire (current backup at San Diego State) and Beau Barrington, who recently left the Arizona State.
But Cronin is also familiar with the often imprecise recruiting process, especially at the quarterback spot.
"It's a finicky position recruiting wise," Cronin said. "We've seen some of the best quarterbacks in NFL history barely recruited out of high school. Guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Montana, Baker Mayfield. There are some things at combines and camp you just can't measure. It's a position that should be measured more on the intangibles than tangibles."
Pavitt is gushing with intangibles.
For one, he's a "football junkie," Cronin said. "He just loves and studies the game." That's a big reason why no quarterback Cronin has ever coached rips through progressions any faster. "He gets through them ‘bang-bang-bang-bang' and makes the correct read."
That's what Pavitt loves about the game the most he said, why he chose it over soccer and basketball, sports that his father and mother played in college.
"I love the dedication it takes to play the game," Pavitt said. "I love to be tested. I'm super competitive and the game is super detailed. I like decoding things. It's like a puzzle."
There's nothing puzzling about Pavitt's end game. He wants to play college football and perhaps beyond. He grew up playing running back and idolizing LaDainian Tomlinson, and though his position changed, his passion for the sport has not.
"I love how every player has to work together, you have to all be focused at the same time and that you're only as strong as your weakest link," Pavitt said.
Clearly Pavitt and Butterfield are each team's strength. The two met at camps in the eighth grade and have been football friends ever since.
"It will be good to catch up with him after the game," Pavitt said. "He's super talented, has a real strong arm and is patient out there. You have to respect the way he plays."
The same goes for both teams, which faced off last year in Santa Rosa, a 31-14 Liberty win. Butterfield threw for four touchdowns. Pavitt rushed for two. Newman can jump into the state Top 25 with the win. Liberty plans to stay there.
"There's a lot of hype around this game and we usually do a good job of tuning that kind of stuff out," Pavitt said. "We're not scared of them and they're not scared of us. It should be a really good game."