When McHenry started Friday’s home game by successfully recovering an onside kick and then recovered another in the first half, it became apparent Jacobs would have no walk-through on the way to becoming playoff eligible.
The Golden Eagles steadied themselves, however, recovering from a 15-6 deficit and scoring on six straight possessions to pile up a 50-25 Fox Valley Valley victory behind three Chris Katrenick touchdown passes to Camden McLain and 210 yards rushing from Josh Walker.
“We weren’t panicked,” Katrenick said. “We knew what we were capable of. Once we got after it, we were rolling and no one could stop us.”
Katrenick, who completed 10-for-17 for 136 yards, took advantage of a McHenry defense keying on the speedy Walker, and connected on a play-action, 32-yard TD pass to a wide-open McLain to break a 22-22 tie with 58 seconds left in the first half.
“We tried to go after it like Auburn’s offense, with run, run, run and then play-action pass,” McLain said. “And it worked.”
After that TD pass, it was all Jacobs (5-4, 2-3).
“It’s a great win for our kids, to come back,” Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said as his team snapped a three-game losing streak. “It’s been a tough three weeks.”
When Katrenick found McLain for a 26-yard TD pass with 7:05 left in the third quarter, the lead hit 14.
Still leading 36-25 after Scott Marunde kicked a 30-yard field goal for McHenry (3-6, 1-4), the Golden Eagles took complete command with a 74-yard drive that ended on a 12-yard power run up the middle by Matt Barnes, who had 86 yards on 12 carries.
“He’s a tough hombre,” Mitz said of Barnes.
Katrenick started the Jacobs’ scoring on a 9-yard TD scramble, but Walker was the show on the ground. He broke a 44-yard TD run off left guard with a couple of sharp cuts right after McHenry’s Michael Briscoe had connected with Mike Borst for a 21-yard TD and a 15-6 lead. Then Walker scored on a 6-yard run to tie it at 22 after McHenry had gone up 22-14 on Briscoe’s 3-yard TD sneak.
“He’s Walker, he makes the plays,” Mitz said.
McHenry had the plays early from Briscoe, who finished 14-for-25 for 241 yards. He threw a 58-yard TD pass to Giovanni Purpura to start the scoring, besides the TD to Briscoe (four catches, 69 yards). But Jacobs recovered from that and losing the onside kicks, then sealed it in the last two minutes with McLain’s 15-yard TD catch.
“It happens like that a lot in football,” Briscoe said. “You can catch them off guard like we did on the onside kicks, but the good teams know how to respond.
“I hope we had them on their heels, or that they felt that way at least.”