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Jacobs quarterback Bret Mooney scores a touchdown in the final seconds against Huntley earlier this season. The Eagles must beat Dundee-Crown on Friday to reach the playoffs for the third straight year. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Jacobs has no room for error when it visits rival Dundee-Crown on Friday night in Carpentersville.
The Golden Eagles enter the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division showdown facing a must-win situation if they hope to return to the postseason for a third straight year.
Recent history is on the side of Jacobs (4-4, 2-3), which has won nine in a row against its District 300 adversary, including the past two meetings by scores of 49-0 and 41-0. But don’t expect the Golden Eagles to underestimate a much-improved Chargers squad with so much at stake.
“It’s always a feather in your cap when you can make the playoffs, but we’re playing a good team in Dundee-Crown that has some outstanding running backs,” Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. “We know Dundee-Crown would love nothing more than to be the spoiler.”
Dundee-Crown (3-5, 1-4) had its hopes of reaching the postseason for the first time since 1994 dashed in a 46-13 defeat against Cary-Grove last week. The contest marked the first game all year the Chargers were never within at least seven points in the second half.
The ability to hang tough with opponents has been a trademark of this Dundee-Crown team, which has made big strides after entering the season on a 26-game losing streak. But simply being competitive isn’t enough to satisfy second-year coach Vito Andriola.
“I didn’t come here to be 3-6 or 4-5,” Andriola said. “That’s two years now where we’re not in the playoffs.
“But your goal every week is to play the best you can play. I’m sure Jacobs is going to do that because they’ve got the playoffs on the line. That will be an advantage for them.”
Junior quarterback Bret Mooney guides a high-powered offensive attack for the Golden Eagles, who average 32 points per game.
Mooney has completed 112 of 206 attempts for an area-best 1,820 passing yards. His top targets are junior Hunter Williams (24 catches for 558 yards) and senior Jake Gierlak (38 catches for 511 yards).
Jacobs is coming off a heartbreaking 32-29 loss last week against Crystal Lake South in which the Gators connected on a 42-yard field goal in the final second. The defeat came two weeks after Jacobs failed on a two-point conversion attempt with 11 seconds left in a 34-33 loss against Huntley.
“We’re two plays from being a 6-2 team right now,” Mitz said. “But hopefully we can get this one and give ourselves a chance in the playoffs.”
Dundee-Crown is led on offense by junior running back Cody Lane, who has 1,177 yards on 141 carries to go along with 18 total touchdowns. Senior running back JT Beasley is another important contributor for the Chargers, who can reach the four-victory mark for the first time since 1998 with a win.
“It’s an important game for us to send our program into the offseason on a good note,” Andriola said. “It’s been an up-and-down year, but we want to end it on the best note we can.”