CRYSTAL LAKE – Jacobs quarterback Bret Mooney scrambled away from three Prairie Ridge linemen, planted his feet and heaved the ball seemingly as far as he could.
Somehow, perhaps through mental telepathy, receiver Hunter Williams found himself in the ball’s path. After all, Williams has been catching Mooney’s throws since the third grade.
Williams hauled in the ball and made it across the goal line with 20 seconds remaining in the first half. Williams’ next two passes from Mooney also went for touchdowns as the duo hooked up three times in 5:30 of game time and the Golden Eagles defeated the Wolves, 20-0, in their Fox Valley Conference Valley Division football opener Friday at Prairie Ridge Athletic Stadium.
“We’ve always had good chemistry,” said Williams, who had seven receptions for 142 yards. “He was scrambling on that one. Just get to the right spot.”
Mooney’s elusiveness was key throughout the game. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 273 yards and was finally sacked near the end of the game.
“Without a doubt, they’re playmakers and they’re extremely close off the field,” Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. “I hope we get that every week. I’m very happy to get this victory.”
Jacobs (1-2 overall, 1-0 FVC Valley) badly needed to avoid an 0-3 start. Prairie Ridge (1-2, 0-1) nearly took the lead early in the second quarter when fullback Zack Greenberg carried on first-and-goal from the 2. But Greenberg was hit hard and Jacobs recovered a fumble in the end zone.
The Wolves did not get that close to scoring again. They fumbled eight times, losing four, and quarterback Brett Covalt was also intercepted once.
“This was great,” Eagles linebacker Greg McLeod said. “In the second half of our first two games, we didn’t finish. This week we did and it feels great. We emphasized turnovers, turnovers, turnovers … and we had the right hits at the right time.”
Mooney said he caught a glimpse of Williams’ hand on the first touchdown pass.
“He eludes the rush so well,” Wolves coach Chris Schremp said. “We should have had him sacked there and the next thing, they come down with a touchdown pass. We could have been up 7-0 at halftime and then we’re down 6-0.”
Mooney had much clearer shots for the next two scores. He connected with Williams on a 32-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter, then, after linebacker Brenden Heiss recovered another Wolves’ fumble, Mooney fired a 31-yard scoring strike to Williams.
“This is the first time we’ve played a full game,” said Mooney, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior drawing NCAA Division I interest. “After our losses [to Barrington and St. Charles East], we were thinking about them the first two days of practice the next week. This week, we should have better practices.”
Jacobs is the first team to shut out Prairie Ridge since 2006 when Huntley beat the Wolves, 26-0.
“This means a lot,” Mitz said. “We had two tough ones where we didn’t play a whole game. The kids rallied and played 48 minutes tonight.”