Tough matchup dooms Jacobs in playoff opener
Jacobs suffered through a frustrating and unproductive night at the hands of Brother Rice's stifling defense.
The Crusaders closed holes quickly. The room that had been there all season for running backs Antonio Brown, Joey Scrivani and Paulie Rudolph was nowhere to be seen.
When Brown got loose for a 13-yard run in the third quarter, a frequent occurrence most games for the Golden Eagles, it was their only double-digit run of the contest.
"They were good. It felt like everything we've done all season, they had a stop for everything," Jacobs offensive lineman Kyle Koziel said. "They knew what was coming. I just applaud them. We've had a dominant offense for two years. It [stinks]. Our last game we pitch a zero. It [stinks]."
No. 24-seeded Brother Rice held No. 9 Jacobs to 162 total yards of offense in a 27-0 victory in the Class 7A playoffs Friday night. The Crusaders (6-4) will host No. 8 Collinsville (9-1) next week in the second round. Collinsville defeated Bradley-Bourbonnais 14-12 on Friday.
Jacobs knew Brother Rice, coming out of the CCL/ESCC Blue Division, was unlike most 5-4 teams. The Crusaders' losses came against Mount Carmel, Loyola and Marist in the CCL/ESCC Blue, and St. Rita in a crossover game.
"Just look at us all year," Crusaders coach Casey Quedenfeld said. "We're a pretty good run-stopping defense when healthy. The times where we let up some runs we didn't have all our pieces in there. Overall, we basically play great rushing attacks. I really have to credit the league we play in.
"You have to be tough, you have to be physical. I have to give credit to the league, I have to give credit to the boys, and I have to give credit to the defensive staff on teaching them an entire new scheme and getting them ready this year."
Jacobs managed only 96 yards rushing on 36 attempts. Scrivani led the Eagles with 56 yards on 16 rushes.
"You could tell they watched their film," Jacobs offensive lineman Will Seibert said. "They really wanted it. Not to say we didn't want it, but they really wanted it. They had good guys, we have good guys, they just got the better of us.
"I don't know what to tell you. They have good coaching, they have good kids. They were ready."
Jacobs reached Brother Rice's 16 in the first half and made it to the 20 in the second, but could not get closer. Jacobs coach Brian Zimmerman was impressed by the entire defense, but especially with linebackers Christian Pierce and Jack Morrison.
"We couldn't get much going," Eagles coach Brian Zimmerman said. "We were getting some 3-, 4-, 5-yard pops here and there. But No. 11 [Pierce] and No. 2 [Morrison], those are two of the best linebackers I've seen in a long time. We missed some opportunities, but it was tough.
"We draw them at 5-4, and you know what kind of league they're in. You look at their scores and where they were at. We knew it was going to be a battle. Our defense played their tails off. We didn't put them in a great position offensively."
Pierce thanked his defensive line for making the linebackers' jobs easier.
"We have a lot of playmakers on defense with the D-line, getting penetration every play, the secondary doing their jobs," Pierce said. "It really starts with the penetration up front freeing us [linebackers] up. They've done a great job all year.
"I feel like we do our job, we can control the game. We've very efficient when we do our job."
Brother Rice's offense started slow, but quarterback Marcus Brown ran for a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, the second with 49 seconds to go before halftime.
Running back Randall Nauden finished with 18 carries for 119 yards, while Brown had 19 carries for 91.
Jacobs (8-2) shared the Fox Valley Conference title with Huntley and Prairie Ridge, its first FVC title since 2013, but the Eagles hoped for much more in the playoffs after reaching the quarterfinals last season.
"Going out first round is terrible," Seibert said. "Nobody wants it. I'm proud of all our boys, man. We practiced hard all season. We had our goal. We didn't reach that goal, but I'm proud of everyone."