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Daily Herald's 2016 Season Coverage
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updated: 11/6/2016 8:44 AM

Jacobs shocks Batavia to reach quarterfinals

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  • Jacobs' Loren Strickland (5) celebrates a touchdown with Jukauri Bland during a win over Batavia at Jacobs Saturday.

      Jacobs' Loren Strickland (5) celebrates a touchdown with Jukauri Bland during a win over Batavia at Jacobs Saturday.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Batavia walks off the field after its loss at Jacobs in Class 7A playoff football Saturday.

      Batavia walks off the field after its loss at Jacobs in Class 7A playoff football Saturday.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Jacobs' David Butros (34) celebrates a touchdown with teammate Cade Portell Saturday in Algonquin.

      Jacobs' David Butros (34) celebrates a touchdown with teammate Cade Portell Saturday in Algonquin.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Batavia at Jacobs 7A football

 
 

It's fitting Jacobs junior running back Loren Strickland says he's a fan of history since he and his teammates made some Saturday in a 28-14 win over Batavia in a Class 7A second-round matchup in Algonquin.

The victory sends No. 28 Jacobs (7-4) -- which had to beat Hampshire on the final day of the regular season to become playoff eligible -- to a state quarterfinal for the second time and first since 1979.

The Golden Eagles will host next week's quarterfinal against No. 4 Fenwick (10-1), which defeated No. 13 Lake Zurich 20-14.

Strickland rushed for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns and returned a kickoff 75 yards for another score. He scored all 4 of his touchdowns in the first half to stake the Golden Eagles to a 14-point lead they would not relinquish.

"I'm glad. It feels great to be a part of history," said Strickland, who also wrestles and competes in track and field. "We want to keep doing it. And next year we'll be back."

The loss denied No. 12 Batavia (8-3) consecutive trips to the quarterfinals, a berth the Bulldogs earned in three of the previous five seasons. They competed without center Jackson Darby due to injury, and leading rusher Reggie Phillips was forced to leave the game after one play after he tried unsuccessfully to play through an ankle injury suffered last week against McHenry.

The Bulldogs didn't turn the ball over until their final possession and they gained 401 total yards overall to Jacobs' 332, yet they were unable to string together more than one long drive and were shut out in the second half.

Four times Batavia turned the ball over on downs between the Jacobs 22-yard line and the Jacobs' 38, twice in the second half. Nearly 100 yards in penalties didn't help.

"I felt like we just couldn't get in any rhythm all day long," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "Every time we would or we would get something clicking and going we'd move the ball and then -- boom -- stop. They did a nice job of sitting back and not letting us pop too many big plays and defending us well. We weren't able to grind things out the way we normally do."

Strickland opened the scoring with a 57-yard touchdown burst four minutes into the game.

Batavia answered on the next possession with on of its best drives, a 10-play, 80-yard march capped by a 25-yard scoring run by senior Dana Anderson.

Then Strickland struck again. He fielded a bouncing kickoff at his own 25, cut right, beat one tackler, deked the kicker and raced 75 yards for the go-ahead score.

Following a three-and-out for the Batavia offense, Jacobs moved 63 yards in 12 plays, culminating in a 3-yard plunge by Strickland, who absorbed a big hit on the play but stayed in the game. The extra point by kicker Garrett Smith staked Jacobs to a 21-7 led with 9:25 left in the second quarter.

Batavia responded. Senior quarterback Ben Weerts connected with Collin Cheaney on a 79-yard touchdown pass on third-and-14. Jack Carlson's extra point drew Batavia within 21-14.

Then Strickland did it again. Bottled up on an inside handoff, he bounced it outside to the left, beat Batavia's defenders to the sideline and used his sprinter's speed to run 77 yards to the end zone.

Batavia tried to answer before halftime, but a 9-play, 43 yard drive petered out at the Jacobs 30.

The Bulldogs had 4 second-half possessions but did not score. They punted, turned the ball over on downs twice and Weerts was intercepted on the final drive by Jukauri Bland with 3:10 remaining. Jacobs picked up a first down on a Batavia penalty and ran out the clock to advance.

"It feels so great -- so great," Jacobs senior safety Conrad Beech said of reaching a quarterfinal. "I never thought this day would come. It's here and it's better than we ever imagined."

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