Jacobs coach Bill Mitz knows the routine after 25 consecutive years of getting teams in the playoffs, and it’s not even new to some of this year’s Golden Eagles.
“It’s do or die,” Mitz said. “We went through this thing a few years ago when we played Boylan in the playoffs so we know what to expect.”
The final Friday night means win or go home for Jacobs (4-4). The Golden Eagles will try to make the playoffs for the fifth time in Mitz’s five years as their coach with a game at McHenry.
Jacobs beat McHenry 49-42 two years ago and had enough points to get in the playoffs. On Friday, the Golden Eagles will be looking to end a three-game losing streak while hoping for St. Charles East (3-5) to beat West Chicago (3-5), Barrington (7-1) to beat Fremd (6-2) and winless Whitney Young to beat Bogan (1-7).
“If we get all three then we’d be at 39 points and in good shape, I think, from looking at the 5-3 and 4-4 teams out there,” said Mitz, whose last 21 Stevenson teams all made the playoffs.
Jacobs has good reason to think the offense can kick into gear with center Carson Shoemaker returning to the lineup. Shoemaker, whose blocking helped running back Josh Walker gain 997 yards, played in last week’s 24-14 loss to Crystal Lake South but only on the defensive line. He missed three full games with injuries from a car accident.
“We’re looking for a big boost, which you’d expect when you get a tough, 6-2, 6-3, 250-pound lineman back in there,” Mitz said.
Sophomore quarterback Chris Katrenick, who has 1,241 yards passing, would benefit with more time than he had in the last three games, when three of his four interceptions were thrown.
“We need to play better on both sides of the ball, but right now I’m figuring it’s going to be an explosive game with a lot of points scored,” Mitz said.
The Perfect Wave
Metro Suburban East champion St. Edward can complete the first perfect regular season in school history by winning at Elmwood Park, and 10th-year coach Mike Rolando can’t help but think back to where it all started.
The Green Wave went 0-9 his first two years.
“It’s kind of surreal to think of 9-0,” Rolando said. “At the beginning, those first years, people didn’t think we could win any games let alone make the playoffs.”
St. Edward’s depth and secondary gets a boost this week with senior defensive back Dan Favela returning.
“What a tough year he’s had, with appendicitis, then he fractured a toe, had a sprained ankle and then a hand fracture,” Rolando said. “Now he’s healed. It gives us another bigger (6-1) athlete in the secondary and allows us to give Santos Gomez and Dwayne Allen, who also play on offense, some rest.”
Not Whipped yet
Hampshire coach Mike Brasile finishes his first season with a home game against his former boss, Steve Beard, and Woodstock.
“There will be a lot of familiar faces,” he said. “We’re expecting to see them taking chances, throwing reverse passes and whatever else you can imagine.”
The Whip-Purs (3-5) won’t make the playoffs largely due to injuries. They’ve had only two offensive starters and four defensive starters play all eight games. The list of season-ending injuries included quarterback Nick Mohlman (knee) and running back Devonte Johnson (ACL tear).
“We had backups get hurt, too,” Brasile said. “But I can honestly say every single guy who filled in gave everything they had and we were proud of their effort. And now it seems like we’re getting healthier — wouldn’t you know it.”