ALGONQUIN – Jacobs got the ball back with 8:02 remaining, trailing Huntley by three points, and had virtually no room for error.
Which was fine, because the Golden Eagles’ play down the stretch was flawless.
Jacobs went on an 11-play, 62-yard drive to score with 2:58, then got the key defensive stop it needed for a 27-17 Fox Valley Conference victory Friday night at Jacobs Athletic Field.
The Eagles (3-2, 3-2 FVC) added a late touchdown after stopping Huntley on its 14 with 2:04 remaining.
Running back Ben Ludlum’s 3-yard run gave Jacobs its first lead of the night. His 7-yard run with 1:30 remaining further sealed a win that greatly enhances the Eagles’ playoff chances.
“We played a really sloppy first half,” Eagles coach Brian Zimmerman said. “Offsides, motion penalties, missing blocks, Huntley came out great in the first half and stuck it to us. We had to make some adjustments and our kids did a fantastic job showing some resolve.”
Ludlum rushed 21 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Nasir Canty carried 20 times for 114 yards and two touchowns.
Huntley’s defense had been tough against Jacobs’ lauded ground attack – Ludlum and Canty rank Nos. 1 and 3 among area rushing leaders. When it counted the most, the Eagles got the job done.
“I was telling my guys, ‘We have to get this done. It’s about how much we want it,’ " Jacobs offensive lineman Joe Volenec said. “We had to have one of our long drives, chew that clock down and score. That’s what happened. It worked out for the best.”
Huntley had a shot to tie or go ahead, taking over on its 12 with 2:54 remaining. But the Jacobs defense held on four downs to set up Ludlum’s second touchdown.
Eagles defensive end Dylann was not happy after facing a 14-7 deficit and Huntley’s 234 total yards in the first half.
“The first half was one of our worst first halves I’ve ever seen us play,” Martinez said. “Our heads weren’t in it. We had a big pep talk from the captains and we all played together, played like a family and started believing in ourselves (in the second half).
“We just lit a fire under our butts. We just got more motivated. The second half, we were flying around, cracking heads. That’s what we needed to do.”
Huntley (2-3, 2-3) found its ground game with running back Ryder Hunkins carrying 23 times for 150 yards. The Red Raiders got two first-half touchdowns from wide receiver Carter Knutsen, who ran for a 9-yard score and caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Sam Deligio just before halftime.
Kicker Mason Wojtas gave the Raiders a 17-13 lead with 5:10 to go in the third quarter with a 32-yard field goal.
“We have to finish,” Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. “That’s what we talked about is finish. The defense has been solid all year. We’ve been putting them them in a bad position with our offense struggling, but today our offense moved the ball, but we need to finish drives.
“We played three quarters of football and that’s not good enough to beat teams.”
Deligio, who started at quarterback for Jacobs in the 2021 spring season, completed 14-of-27 passes for 151 yards, 114 of which came in the first half. Christian Brown and Chase Jetel each caught five passes for the Raiders.
“This keeps the momentum going,” Zimmerman said. “Our goal is the playoffs. It was a fun win, it meant a lot to the kids. Anytime you come out with a victory over Huntley, you have to feel good.”
Jacobs 27, Huntley 17
Huntley 7 7 3 0 – 17
Jacobs 7 0 6 14 – 27
H–Knutsen 9 run (Wojtas kick), 5:19.
J–Canty 5 run (Rocha kick), 1:47.
H–Knutsen 15 pass from Deligio (Wojtas kick), 0:24.
J–Canty 25 run (kick failed), 10:14.
H–FG Wojtas 32, 5:10.
J–Ludlum 3 run (Rocha kick), 2:58.
J–Ludlum 7 run (Rocha kick), 1:30.
RUSHING–Huntley: Hunkins 23-150, Deligio 8-40, Knutsen 3-10, Tinajero 7-9, Wojtas 1-1. Totals: 42-220. Jacobs: Ludlum 21-126, Canty 20-114, Almeida 6-31, Scirvani 1-8. Totals: 49-278.
PASSING–Huntley: Deligio 14-27-0-151. Jacobs: Benner 0-5-0-0.
RECEIVING–Huntley: Brown 5-74, Jetel 5-61, Knutsen 2-15, Ardell 1-7, Zastrow 1-4.
TOTAL TEAM YARDS–Huntley 371, Jacobs 278.