Barrington's Coon has the scent of a champion
This dog can hunt.
Whether it's a football or a baseball, Barrington's Jake Coon is on it.
The Barrington linebacker, who has started on the varsity since his sophomore year, has developed into one of the top players in the Mid-Suburban League. And that includes baseball, where he is two time all-area player as well.
"The kid has been a tremendous leader in our program," Barrington football coach Joe Sanchez said. "He is the real deal, both on and off the field."
Sanchez spotted Coon playing youth football. He told his coaches then that Coon could be a special player.
'I remember him in our camp," Sanchez said. "I knew by the way he held himself and that the way he did things that he was a winner and that he was special."
Sanchez said Coon's work on and off the field has earned him accolades from his teachers and his peers.
"In terms of work ethic and doing things the right way, he represents us well." Sanchez said. "And he does that for his team and the community in the best way possible."
Coon showed that leadership when he was nearly a unanimous choice of the 97-payer Barrington team as a captain.
"That says a lot," Sanchez said. "That shows the respect that he has not just from the coaches but from his peers as well."
That respect comes from opposing coaches, too. It is not unusual for teams to direct their offenses away from the 6-foot-1, 220 pound Coon, who wears number 40 on both the football field and baseball field.
But it didn't always come as easily to Coon. When he was moved up to the varsity as a sophomore, the speed of the game was almost too much for him.
"It seemed like everything was flying by me," Coon said. "I talked to my coaches and they explained to me how to adjust. It took a little time, but I figured it out. Now everything is in slow motion because I figured it all out."
Coon came to the Barrington varsity football team not seasoned from pigskin, but rather calf hide. He made the Legion baseball team as a freshman and that changed everything for him.
"I was playing with guys who were freshmen in college," Coon said. "It really helped me mature. I was just playing on weekends to fill in for some of these guys, buy the end of the season, I was playing in front of them."
That didn't surprise Pat Wire, who was the Legion coach at the time and became head coach of the Barrington varsity baseball team the next spring.
"You are talking about a kid who is a natural leader," said Wire, who had Coon starting at first base his sophomore year.
"He is intelligent and savvy, both on and off the field. You know, he is quite articulate about the way he thinks about the game."
Coon has hit for .380 over his last two seasons, with all area acclaim both times. He hits for power as well, as evidenced by the towering 3-run homer he hit last year at Bloomington Normal.
"The thing that stands out most about him is that he is grounded," said Wire, who is also the offensive coordinator for the Broncos. "He is humble and he is always trying to get better. That is the sign of the true great ones."
Coon continued to play Legion ball this summer, where helped his team win the Illinois state title. He rushed back from Indiana after his team was eliminated from Midwest regional competition to start football practice two days later.
Coon said given his choice, he would play football over baseball in college.
"I love football," Coon said. "It is great playing on Friday nights in front of our home crowd with the band and cheerleaders. It is three hours of unbelievable fun."
Right now, Coon, who has 4.2 GPA and scored a 32 on his ACT, has an offer from Davidson. Ivy League school like Dartmouth and Yale are also interested as well as Georgetown.
"It is weird, this being my last year," Coon said. "I am a senior now, and I am captain. It is crazy to think how these three years have flown by," Coon said.