Jacobs runs wild vs. Crystal Lake South
Jacobs junior running back Joey Scrivani got some encouragement from quarterback Max Benner and the rest of his offensive mates in the huddle before a key fourth-and-4 with 1:47 remaining against Crystal Lake South.
"We were all together, we were all one, and that's what we needed in that situation," Scrivani said. "With the offense we run, we all need to be working together and trust each other. It all worked out perfectly.
"I saw it open up in the middle, and I knew I could get the four yards. Everybody in the huddle, we were all motivated."
Scrivani got the four yards he needed for the first down and was rewarded three plays later, scoring the Golden Eagles' final touchdown from nine yards out as Jacobs held on to beat Crystal Lake South, 41-31, in the Fox Valley Conference and season opener at The Swamp.
Jacobs' running backs battled cramps all night, but were the difference in the game with 394 yards on 51 attempts. Senior Antonio Brown led the group with 163 yards on 18 carries and four scores. Scrivani had 133 yards and Paulie Rudolph added 61 yards.
Jacobs coach Brian Zimmerman was proud of his entire group, including the strong play of the offensive line and tight ends.
"[Scrivani] was cramping up all night with him going both ways [playing offense and defense], but he pushed through," Zimmerman said. "I'm just really proud of the kids and the way they persevered tonight. We need to clean up some things, but it was a fun first night."
Crystal Lake South also had a big rushing performance from Nate Van Witzenburg, who had 177 yards on 14 carries. Ninety-three of those yards came on one play.
After the Eagles took over on downs on the final play of the third quarter, they ran off almost seven minutes of clock, taking the ball down to South's 13-yard line.
That's when South's Dom Ariola came up with a key fumble recovery after the Gators knocked the ball free from Jacobs and took over at their own 7. On the next play, Van Witzenburg busted up the middle and scored from 93 yards out, cutting the Eagles' lead to 34-31 with 4:54 left.
After a failed onside kick attempt by South, Jacobs then answered with a nine-play drive of 50 yards, capped by Scrivani's score.
South coach Rob Fontana thought his players battled hard all night. Jacobs entered the game ranked seventh in the first Associated Press Class 7A poll.
"Jacobs returned a ton of kids, they had a successful run last year, and they know what that wining feeling is," Fontana said. "Our guys, they truly had no quit. They knew we needed a turnover, they got it done and they continued to battle. We were in that game the whole way."
Before the heroics of Scrivani in the fourth quarter, it was Brown who ran wild. He ran for touchdown scores of 5, 47, 1 and 21 yards.
"I was having fun blocking for my other running backs and putting on a show for the crowd," Brown said. "It all starts up front with the [offensive line]. We couldn't do it without them. My other running backs, my fullback, everybody was doing their part, which makes it all fall into place."
Caden Casimino started for the Gators and was 17-of-29 passing for 242 yards and two scores. He had a 33-yard touchdown pass to Van Witzenburg for the first touchdown of the game, and hit Sean Dougherty for 42 yards that tied the score at 14-all with 9:51 left in the second quarter.
Michael Prokos led the Gators with 80 yards receiving and also grabbed an interception on the second play of the game.
Benner was 6-of-7 passing for 123 yards and a touchdown, a 60-yard score to Nick True (two catches, 88 yards) that gave the Eagles a 27-21 lead with 6:39 left in the third.