Jacobs makes believers of Hersey
Nonbelievers, take a seat.
The Jacobs football team isn't listening.
"No one has believed in us," said Golden Eagles coach Brian Zimmerman, "and we started talking about that from day one in the summer. We were supposed to be a 3-6 team, that's what all the experts said. But our kids believed, and we came in tonight with a chip on our shoulder."
And after their performance Friday night at Hersey, there may not be many left who don't have the faith.
Jacobs rushed for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns, and had 3 more scores through the air in a 48-20 Class 7A playoff win at Roland R. Goins stadium in Arlington Heights.
The Golden Eagles improved to 7-3 on the season as Nasir Canty led the way on the ground with 165 yards on 14 carries.
Quarterback Jimmy Makuh of Hersey threw for 2 TDs, but it was hard for the Huskies to sustain a consistent aerial attack due to the weather conditions -- a howling wind and constant rain.
"It was tough," said Huskies coach Joe Pardun. "The weather did not help us at all, but that's not an excuse. It was just hard to get anything going or get into a rhythm."
The offensive line of Jacobs -- Matthew Shannon, Joe Volenec, William Seibert, Kyle Koziel and Luke Shannon -- were dominant, especially in the first quarter when the Golden Eagles scored three times.
Paulie Rudolph (3 yards out), Benjamin Ludlum (a 1-yard plunge) and Canty (76 yards) all rushed for touchdowns in the first 12 minutes as Jacobs opened a 21-0 lead.
"This offensive line is as good as anybody I've worked with in a coaching span of 11 years," said Zimmerman.
Hersey responded in quarter number two with a 21-yard TD catch by Dylan Carlquist, but Jacobs closed out the half with a 12-yard scoring pass, a slant over the middle from Max Benner to Grant Stec.
The Huskies crept closer just after halftime when Carson Grove caught an 11-yard strike from Makuh.
But Jacobs quickly squashed any chance of a Hersey comeback on their next drive.
The Golden Eagles marched 60 yards in 13 plays, using up 7 minutes of clock and scoring on a 3-yard TD catch by Nicholas True on fourth down.
"They ran the ball hard, and hit the passes when they needed to," said Padun of Jacobs. "That's what their offense is all about, and you could see it for sure."
Jacobs scored twice more late, a 7-yard catch by Stec and an 8-yard run from Antonio Brown, while Hersey countered with a 2-yard touchdown run by Tyson Schutz.
Eliseo Vasquez and Joseph Scrivani helped lead the defensive effort of Jacobs, which held the Hersey offense to 18 points below their season scoring average.
"Our kids have worked extremely hard, and they've bought into everything that we've sold them," said Zimmerman. "I'm very proud of them."
It was a tough end of the season for Hersey, which won its first seven games but dropped the final 3.
"I thought we responded well tonight at some critical points in the game," said the Hersey coach. "People don't see it from the outside, but our seniors and the things they had to go through in the last 6 months, they're just an unbelievable group of guys."
"We knew what we had to stop tonight," added Pardun of the Jacobs attack, "but it was still hard to stop them. They are really well coached, and they're even more impressive in person than they were on film. All credit to them."