Jacobs tops improved Hampshire
Jacobs started and ended its Fox Valley Conference opener impressively Friday night at Hampshire, which the Golden Eagles needed to leave with a victory.
The host Whip-Purs entered on the heels of an 0-9 season and 17-game losing streak and quickly found themselves down 18-0.
But Hampshire settled down, scored twice and was a stop away from having a chance in the fourth quarter. That's when Jacobs put the game away, marching 72 yards to run most of the final six minutes off the clock, capping the drive with sophomore Nasir Canty's second touchdown of the game for a 25-12 victory.
"Their kids hung in there and fought hard," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "Hats off to them. It was a heck of a drive to seal the victory. but we've got things we've got to get better at. But I'm happy to get the win."
Jacobs (1-0, 1-0) opened the scoring with 4:50 left in the first quarter on a 12-yard touchdown run by Canty to complete an 11-play, 72-yard drive. The extra point was blocked, the first of five straight failed point after attempts by the two teams.
Junior wide receiver Max Stec made it 12-0, leaping and then dragging his feet in the corner of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown catch on the last play of the first quarter.
After Nicholas Agenlian's interception, senior Jacob Mobeck ran 9 yards for a touchdown, giving Jacobs an 18-0 lead with five minutes left before halftime.
The Whips started to find success on the ground. Quarterback Jackson Milison scrambled for a couple big gains, Evan Andresen rambled 45 yards for a touchdown, and Neil Sakolari intercepted a pass to deny a late Jacobs drive and leave Hampshire within 18-6 at halftime.
Hampshire's defense came up with another stand to start the fourth quarter, stopping Jacobs on downs after Travis Tanner had given his team 1st-and-goal at the 4 with a 65-yard punt return. Natahn Strumilo's open field tackle on fourth down put the ball in Milison's hands at his own 3-yard line, and he quickly found Shandon Suma on a 42-yard pass before finishing the 97-yard drive himself, breaking a tackle in the backfield on 4th-and-1 and turning it into a 44-yard touchdown run.
That made it 18-12 with 6:56 to play, a far cry from from losing 50-0 to Jacobs in last year's season opener.
"We reacted much better to some adversity than we did in the past," Whip-Purs coach Jake Brosman said. "It was good progress for us to see. It's not the end goal we really wanted, but we have made some strides."
Thanks to hard running from Mobeck (112 yards on 18 carries), Canty (12 carries for 96 yards) and Evan Fridae, Jacobs killed the clock down to 1:10 and sealed the win on Canty's 9-yard TD run.
"Our running backs are the most powerful guys on the team," Mobeck said. "The ability to run through people is what saved us there. We all just came together and kept pushing through until the very last minute."
Despite getting sacked by George Trojanek and Jacob Spychala, Milison ran for 72 yards while completing 9 of 15 passes for 107 yards. Jacobs senior QB Cole Bhardwaj only threw 2 passes in the second half to finish 8 for 13 for 102 yards.
"Their quarterback did a good job scrambling out of the pocket," Mitz said. "There's a couple times I thought we were going to get him and he got out of it. Our kids were coming hard and he was making good plays and if he continues to do that he will give some people some fits."
Ten different players carried the ball for Hampshire, who looks like it has come a long way.
"It's a huge step from last year. All the hard work in the off-season led up to this," Milison said. "We came out slow in the first half but I feel if we come out right away and go full go I feel we can stick with teams and pull out some wins."