Big-game Luke: Glenwood Springs QB Jacob thrives in pressure situations
Glenwood Springs quarterback Luke Jacob isn’t afraid of the big game.
Jacob, a senior, will be under center (or five yards behind the center in the Demons’ spread offense) for Saturday’s home quarterfinal matchup against Canon City.
This isn’t the first time Jacob has felt of the pressure of a big game.
Jacob was on the field two years ago when Glenwood Springs won the Class 3A state championship.
A sophomore at the time, Jacob spent most of the year backing up Dakota Stonehouse at quarterback.
Before the semifinal game against Mountain View, the Demons had an injury to one of their top receivers, Connor Riley.
Glenwood Springs coach Rocky Whitworth decided the best move would be to put Jacob at receiver.
“He was a backup quarterback, but he was such an athletic guy,” Whitworth said. “We had an injury and we picked the most athletic guy on the team to put in that spot, and he was that guy.”
Jacob had six catches for 85 yards in the final two games, including four catches for 69 yards in the state championship game against Fort Morgan.
“It gave me experience to be in big, high-pressure games,” Jacob said. “It really helped me grow.”
Once Stonehouse graduated and moved onto Carroll (Mont.) College, it was Jacob’s time to step into the spotlight.
Jacob finished with 1,108 yards passing and 1,007 yards rushing in 2009. The Demons went 7-5 and lost in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion Valor Christian, 51-28.
Jacob gained experience during his junior season, and this season he has exceeded expectations.
“(Dakota) was a great quarterback and it was hard to step in,” Jacob said. “But now I feel I lot more comfortable with the experience I’ve gotten.”
The Demons enter Saturday’s game 11-1, with Jacob throwing for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 1,192 yards and 15 touchdowns.
“He’s a big-play guy,” Whitworth said. “When he sees an opportunity, he’ll take it and make the big play.”
Jacob has shown that big-play ability when it’s counted this season. Jacob ran for 162 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 42-21 win over Lewis-Palmer.
Jacob also had a big game in a narrow win against Palisade early in the season when he orchestrated two touchdown drives late in the game in a 21-20 win.
He also scored a game-winning touchdown during the final Western Slope Conference game of the season in a 20-19 win over Rifle.
“He had tough shoes to fill and Luke has been steadily improving,” Whitworth said. “He’s listened to everything I’ve said, and he’s gotten better every week.”
Jacob and the Demons have their biggest test of the season against Canon City.
The Tigers advanced with a 17-10 win over Windsor in the quarterfinals, and are in the semifinals for the first time since 2000.
Canon City is also led by its quarterback, senior Max Javernick, who has thrown for 837 yards and rushed for 541 yards. He has 16 total touchdowns.
“They are a really good team,” Jacob said. “They are tough, and it’ll be a hard game.”