Coach: Bill Mitz (fifth season, 25-15)2013 record: 7-3 overall, 6-0 FVC ValleyFast Fact: Jacobs made the playoffs in each of Mitz’s first four seasons as head coach with the Golden Eagles. Mitz, who coached for 28 years at Stevenson, has made the postseason in 29 of 30 seasons.
-The Golden Eagles went undefeated in the Fox Valley Conference for the first time in school history last season on their way to the conference title. “It’s nice to be in the upper echelon with Cary-Grove and (Crystal Lake) South,” said Mitz, whose career coaching record stands at 222-113. “I think we’ve earned a lot of respect in the four years we’ve been here.”
-Jacobs lost 18 seniors from last season’s team, most notably 2013 Northwest Herald Football Player of the Year Bret Mooney. The Class 7A all-state quarterback takes more than 2,500 all-purpose yards and 25 touchdowns (17 passing, 8 rushing) with him to Colgate. Sophomore Chris Katrenick, a transfer from Marian Central, and junior Brenden Heiss will battle for the starting job.
- The Golden Eagles return 13 starters from last season, including three-year starters Nick Gierlak, Carson Shoemaker, Cody Ferencz, Jamal Wilson and Josh Walker. Add to that mix established senior wide receiver Camden McClain, who caught 32 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns last season. “They’re a good nucleus right there,” Mitz said.
- Jacobs is looking for a new playmaker to emerge with its quarterback and top wide receiver, Hunter Williams, gone. “It’s the next guy’s chance to step up,” Mitz said. “Is it Walker’s chance to step up? Is it McClain’s? Is it going to (Mat or Sean) Barnes? Is it going to be Katrenick? It could be Heiss. Who’s going to be that guy?”
- Mitz acknowledge that the Golden Eagles could focus more on the ground game and running back Josh Walker, who accounted for more than 1,300 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns last season. “Walker is a very electric player,” Mitz said. “I’ve had a lot of really good players, but he’s a game breaker at any time.”
- Look for junior twins Mat and Sean Barnes to step up at linebacker and running back and wide receivers Kyle Copeland and Nathan Meland to emerge this season.
Drill that stands out: The Golden Eagles take conditioning seriously. To get into shape they run “suicides” like you would see on the basketball court, only the football version is much more grueling. Player start at the goal line and run to the five yard line then back. Then to the 10-yard line and back. Then to the 15 yard line and back. They continue in 5-yard increments until they’ve made it all 100 yards.
Aug 29 @Barrington 7 p.m.Sept. 5 St. Charles East 7:15 p.m.Sept. 12 Whitney Young 7 p.m.Sept. 19 Grayslake Central* 7:15 p.m.Sept. 26 Dundee-Crown* 7:15 p.m.Oct. 3 Huntley* 7:15 p.m.Oct. 17 @Crystal Lake South* 7:15 p.m.Oct. 24 @McHenry* 7:15 p.m.