Immaculate Conception football: Jenkins’ touchdowns power Lions over Morris Catholic
Immaculate Conception quarterback Jordan Jenkins had a legendary performance against Morris Catholic last Friday night.
In the first half, Jenkins rushed for two touchdowns and threw three touchdown passes. On defense, he recorded a sack and recovered a fumble.
It was a total effort for Jenkins, a sophomore. He finished with five touchdowns and 297 total yards, 177 yards throwing and 120 running. He completed six out of seven passes.
Behind Jenkins’ career day, Immaculate ran by Morris Catholic, 41-0, in the North Jersey Super Football Conference crossover contest in Denville on Oct. 28.
At halftime, the score was 33-0. During Morris Catholic’s homecoming ceremony, there was more excitement along the Immaculate sideline than in the Morris Catholic bleachers full of fans.
The game ended as it began, with Immaculate scoring. On the final play of the night, junior wide receiver Jasim Shiggs scored on a 20-yard touchdown run, and then senior running back Eriq Harris made the two-point conversion to make it 41-0.
With the win, Immaculate finished its regular season at 6-3.
On Sunday, the Lions learned about the Non-Public B state playoffs bracket. They are the sixth seed and will travel to Non-Public powerhouse St. Joseph of Hammonton, the third seed, on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. at Buena High School. The Wildcats have 27 state sectional titles to their name since the state format that started in the 1970s.
Immaculate will need another performance by Jenkins like the one against Morris Catholic to beat St. Joseph.
After the win over the Crusaders, Jenkins was humble about his performance. “It's just normal,” he said. “I have to play like this regardless because I play for my team. I don’t play quarterback, but I am an athlete, so I have to do it.”
Head coach Maurice Lucas was surprised with how Jenkins played. “Five touchdowns, really? I didn’t even know that,” said Lucas, who took a second to fully process Jenkins’ feat. “That’s impressive. That I really didn’t know.”
Jenkins went back under center because the starting quarterback, freshman Davion Young, missed the Morris Catholic battle because of illness.
“Jordan started off in the beginning of the season as the quarterback, and then he went down,” said Lucas, referring to Jenkins’ injury in the loss to Cedar Grove, 21-7, on Sept. 23. “Davion took over. Jordan is pretty much back. He’s at 90 percent.”
Other Lions also stood out in the victory.
On offense, Harris had 40 rushing yards, 38 receiving yards, scored a touchdown and made a two-point conversion. He also had three tackles on defense.
Shiggs scored two touchdowns and had a two-point conversion. He had 22 receiving yards and 25 rushing yards. He made 3½ tackles on defense.
On defense, Dakota Carreras led the Lions in tackles with six. Jahide Lesaine led the team in sacks with two and had an additional tackle for a loss.
After their game versus Shabazz, a 30-8 Lions win on Oct. 15 with most of the points coming in the first half, Lucas accused his team of being “scoreboard watchers.”
Immaculate again followed that scoring pattern against Morris Catholic, prompting the coach to say, “They still have a little of that” scoreboard watching.
However, Lucas did say that the final touchdown was the most “impressive.” To him, it was a sign that Immaculate is able to show the same level of effort throughout an entire game.
Jenkins had a similar point of view. “That touchdown was a statement touchdown,” he explained. “We wanted to say we practiced hard to do this.”
There was another key improvement that Lucas noticed in his players. The Lions were focused on playing perfectly on defense, and that goal kept their attention on the game at hand.
“We pretty much live off of our defense,” the coach said. “When the defense pitches a shutout like tonight, the team gets intense, and I love that. Our defensive coordinator, coach Dante Dennis, does a great job of getting our kids prepared all week.”
As the Lions head into the playoffs, they know intensity, consistency and effort will be the most important factors in determining whether they will win or lose.