Preps Talk

EDGY: Refs need to be safe and held in the highest regards

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EDGY: Refs need to be safe and held in the highest regards

I stumbled across a story out of San Antonio, Texas and it's something that I hope we never see or experience here in Illinois.

But like most things these days, I've also learned (sadly) to never say never.

In the story and accompanying video, two San Antonio-area defensive players from John Jay High School intentionally hit the back judge who was watching the developing play. While we will most likely never know the intentions or the reasons why, one thing I do know is this: if some day it becomes open season on refs, high school football is over.

Over my 20 years of having the privilege and honor to stand on the sidelines week in and week out, I'd like to think I've learned a few things about the sport and some of the people involved in and around high school football.

Refs? No question in my mind that many of the refs who I've been able to get to know are some of the best, most passionate high school football fans around.

The refs I've gotten to know are all generally highly successful people in the professional world as well as off the field. They definitely aren't in the business just for the money; in fact, far from it. You'd be amazed at how little these officials are paid these days. The refs that I know are in it because they love the game and want to give something back. Simple as that.

Issues? Just like in every walk of life, you have some great referees and some that are not so great. I've seen some of them blow calls that decided the outcome of a few games. Yet to go to the extent of intending to injure somebody on the field without pads? Any line of thinking in those regards, whether done by a player — or even worse — encouraged by a coach or coaches, needs to end right now.

Lots of issues remain in the officiating business — in particular the disturbing lack of available refs in the 25 to 40-year old range. Refs are getting older and harder to come by in all sports and football remains one of the most physically demanding. Video and stories like this one, likely seen by more than a few potential refs in the making, will make anyone think twice before deciding to make the sacrifice to become an official. And who could blame them if an incident like the one in San Antonio becomes more than a one-time incident?

The day that refs feel that they are not safe above and beyond the inherited risks…or at least the day where they feel need to watch their backs?

It's over. Done. Finished.

Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift

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USA TODAY

Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC. -- Markese Jacobs doesn't have to impress college coaches during the July live evaluation period since he's already committed to Kansas. But the Uplift rising senior point guard is still motivated to make a strong impression during his final summer on the grassroots circuit.

Playing with a healthy and rejuvenated Mac Irvin Fire roster that includes Morgan Park's Adam Miller and former city players like Terrance Shannon (Lincoln Park) and Kahlil Whitney (Solorio), Jacobs is running an offense with a lot of talent around him the next few weeks. His ultimate goal is to make waves with national talent evaluators to improve his stock and overall ranking.

"We're extra motivated because we didn't get to play with each other fully healthy. We were missing guys some sessions. Some players weren't playing. Now our thing is, now that we're healthy, let's finish strong and accomplish what we want to accomplish," Jacobs said.

"My goal is to at least get top 50. They've got me in the 90s and 100s and I feel disrespected. My whole thing is coming out strong and breaking the top 50."

Since Jacobs doesn't have to worry about collecting scholarship offers since he's been pledged to the Jayhawks for over a year, he is focused instead of making sure that his point guard ability continues to grow. Jacobs also wants to continue to improve his perimeter shooting since defenses will collapse on him regularly next season.

"I have to show that I'm not only an athlete. I can play defense, score the ball and get the ball to my teammates," Jacobs said.

"Over these next couple months, my whole thing is getting off the dribble and hitting open shots. Going into my high school season, pretty much everybody in Chicago is going to be gunning for me. I'm going to get double teamed and stuff like that. So the opportunities that I get, I have to make the best of them."

Jacobs is encouraged by how things are going at Uplift entering next season -- especially now that he is a team leader. In the past, Markese could rely on leadership from his older brother Demarius, or Toraze Dobbs. Now, those guys have graduated and it's his time to shine as a team leader for the Titans.

"It's actually very different. I have to be the one talking now. I can't take a couple plays off like I normally can. So now, it's just, I have to come with it every game," Jacobs said.

Uplift will continue to develop its Class 2A rivalry with conference opponent Orr as both teams always feel like they're on a collision course during the postseason. This season, Jacobs has made it clear that a state title is his goal as he feels as though Class 2A is underrated in Illinois. 

"I'm trying to win state. That's my only goal. City is going to be what city is going to be. But my whole thing is winning state,' Jacobs said.

"Two A is actually pretty tough because it's the same two teams every time: us and Orr. For us, it's about finishing once we get to that game. We do pretty good up until that game, and then we fold. So my thing is just finishing and playing all the way through." 


 

38 Days to Kickoff - Glenbrook North

38 Days to Kickoff - Glenbrook North

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Glenbrook North

Head coach: Bob Pieper

Assistant coaches: Matt Purdy, Dom Savino, Justin Weiner, Justin Georgacakis, Matt Miller, Brad Hokin, Ernie Brandt and Mike Nabolotny

How they fared in 2017: 5-4 (2-3 Central Suburban North Conference). Glenbrook North failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Wheeling

Sept. 1 vs Grant

Sept. 7 vs Hoffman Estates

Sept. 14 @ Elk Grove

Sept. 21 @ Maine West

Sept. 28 vs Highland Park

Oct. 5 @ Maine East

Oct. 12 vs Deerfield

Oct. 19 vs Vernon Hills

[MORE: 61 Days to Kickoff - Maine West]

Biggest storyline: Will the Spartans' growing pains from last season pay off come August?

Names to watch this season: DB Ben Kieffer and OL Nick Mantas

Biggest holes to fill: The Spartans welcome back an impressive 15 starters (eight offense, seven defense) this season. That said, who will be the main ball carrier this season for the Spartans?

EDGY's Early Take: Glenbrook North posted a winning record in 2017, but a low playoff point total kept the Spartans watching the playoffs at home. Look for a much more experienced team on both sides of the football this fall that will contend for the Central Suburban North conference title and a state playoff spot.