LOREAUVILLE — When asked about his defense in the preseason, Loreauville head coach Terry Martin made sure to mention sophomore defensive back Collin Jacob, who delivered a bone-crushing hit in fall camp that cracked the helmet of his unwitting victim.
Jacob has lived up to expectations as the top cover cornerback for the 20th-seeded Tigers, who travel to fifth-seeded Amite in the Class 2A quarterfinals Friday.
“Every week we compile the numbers for on-field production, and Collin has consistently graded the highest of any defensive player on the team,” Martin said. “He’s great in coverage and run support. He’s surprised us with how physical he’s been with stopping the run. He also has a couple of interceptions with one returned for a touchdown.
“In the first playoff game (vs. No. 13 Lake Arthur), he had a big play. They faked a punt and he picked off the ensuing pass. The biggest thing has been the tackles he’s made all over the field. When we did the tallies for non-district, he had around 10 to 12 tackles for loss.”
In a Week 1 win over Central Catholic, Collin Jacob caught the game-winning touchdown pass from his twin brother, Calep Jacob.
“All year long, the twin brothers have started for us on defense,” Martin said. “They got a good bit of playing time on offense, too. They’re identical twins, but Calep is more of the jokester. He’s more outgoing, while Collin is definitely more reserved.”
Loreauville (8-4), which only won one game last year, now gets a shot at the defending state champ in Amite.
The Warriors (9-3) consistently turn out blue-chip prospects. Last year, Amite featured the state’s fourth- and eighth-ranked players in Ishmael Sopsher (now at Alabama) and Devonta Lee (LSU).
This year’s team includes two of Louisiana’s top defensive backs in Kevin Bickham and Daran Branch, an Ole Miss commitment.
“Amite has four players who are all about 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-2 and 185 lbs.,” Martin said. “They’re a very talented team.”
Collin Jacob says his team is taking a business-like approach to the next game.
“We’ve made it to the quarterfinals and I’ve given my all for my team,” he said. “I’m just playing hard and doing the best I can for my team. When the ball comes my way, I’m just there to make the tackle.”
With the win at home over fourth-seeded Mangham last week, Loreauville was able to accomplish another of its preseason goals.
“In the preseason, when they listed their goals, one of the things they mentioned was having a home playoff game,” Martin said. “It feels unbelievable to be practicing the week of Thanksgiving.
“You’re not going to have it every year, but you should have a goal of practicing on Thanksgiving. It’s such a special, unique time.”