After last-second wins this season against Crystal Lake South and Cary-Grove, one might have thought another miracle in the waning moments was in the offing for host Jacobs during Friday night's opening round Class 7A matchup against visiting Conant.
But the magic finally ran out on the Golden Eagles.
With the Cougars holding a narrow 7-point lead, Jacobs marched to the Conant 8-yard line with less than a minute to play. But on fourth down, Jacobs quarterback Bret Mooney was harassed by Conant's defensive line and his pass to the end zone was intercepted by Graham Palmer with 18 seconds left.
Conant ran out the clock to earn an exhilarating 42-35 win over Jacobs in Algonquin.
The 11th-seeded Cougars (7-3) advance to the second round to play the winner of Saturday's Glenbard West-Harlem game while No. 6 seed ranked Jacobs, which won its last 7 regular season games, end its season 7-3.
"I thought I had a good play called," said Mooney. "They put great pressure on me and had good coverage on the receivers. It was a tough way to end my career."
Conant shredded the Jacobs defense for 511 yards of total offense, 311 passing and 200 rushing.
Senior quarterback Danny Modelski completed 19-of-35 passes for 311 yards and 2 touchdowns. He tossed an 11-yard scoring pass to Mike Kos and a 20-yard TD strike to Dante Marski. Modelski also ran for a 21-yard score. All those scores happened in the first half as the Cougars led 28-21 at intermission.
With Jacobs' defense geared to stop the pass Conant, led by Elias Gardner, ran roughshod on the Golden Eagles in the second half. Gaining 155 of his 190 yards in the second half Gardner, who had a 4-yard TD run in the first half, scored on runs of 4 and 50 in the second half. His 50-yard score with 9:25 left proved to be the game-winner.
"We saw something in their defense in the second half where we could run the ball," said Modelski. "Elias ran great. They are a great team and this is a great win for the team."
Conant coach Bill Modelski, Danny's father, was glad to get the win.
"Our defense finally got a stop," said Bill Modelski. "We threw the ball well in the first half and Elias did a great job of running the ball in the second half. I didn't think we would need 42 to win, but our offense was in high gear tonight."
Jacobs, primarily a running team, was able to run the ball efficiently against the Cougar defense.
Led by a 137 yard, 3-TD effort by Josh Walker, the Golden Eagles ran for 165 yards on 40 carries, Mooney scrambled for 116 yards on 21 carries and scored on TD runs of 27 and 1 yards. Mooney, in his last high school game, completed 15-of-34 for 165 yards. Ryan Sargent snared 5 passes for 33 yards.
"It was a tough loss," said Jacobs coach Bill Mitz. "The kids gave a great effort. We just couldn't make a play at the end. I hate to see the season end the way it did."