Hurtley, Jacobson set for football finale
Jacobson and Hurtley are members of the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Division 4-7 South all-star team of graduated high school seniors that will battle the North at 2 p.m. at UW-Oshkosh’s Titan Stadium.
College will follow in the fall for both the Rock Valley Conference standouts, but this will mark the last time they put on a helmet and shoulder pads. Hurtley will pursue an engineering degree at the University of Wisconsin, while Jacobson is set to study ag-business at UW-Platteville.
“This game definitely has a little extra incentive for me,” said Hurtley, an Evansville High School graduate and an All-Rock Valley North selection. “But this week, it’s about the team and not me.
“I know I made the right decision to go into engineering and give up football. I’m going to miss it, but it will be worth it.”
Jacobson, a Brodhead High School graduate and WFCA first-team all-state selection as a defensive lineman, was the Rock Valley’s South Co-Lineman of the Year along with South teammate Dean Smith of Walworth Big Foot. The
6-foot-5, 250-pound Jacobson started three seasons for Brodhead/Juda and helped the Cardinals advance to the WIAA Division 4 state title game last fall. Brodhead/Juda lost to Kewaunee, 41-21.
“I’ll miss some of the parts,” Jacobson said of giving up football. “Teammates, coaches, things like that, but I just felt like it was time to move on.”
Brodhead/Juda coach Jim Matthys is the Division 4-7 South head coach. He knows his roster well, with six players coming from the Rock Valley, a conference that has had a team in a state title game the last three years.
Besides Jacobson, Smith and Hurtley, Edgerton tight end Tyler Dobratz, Evansville cornerback Dylan Erickson and Brodhead/Juda outside linebacker Alex Wallace also are on the South roster.
Matthys says that not only bragging rights are on the line Saturday, but also the opportunity to go out a winner.
“There’s a lot of things special about the game, but for some of these guys, this is the last time they’re going to put pads on,” Matthys said. “And it’s also a second chance at a last game. I’m sure many of them thought it was over last fall.
“The last thing is because you’ve been together as a team for week come Saturday, you want to end it on a high note. We’re getting after it at each and every practice and with each and every rep because it still comes down to winning.”
Wallace will play at UW-Stevens Point in the fall, with Smith will be taking his talent to the two-time defending NCAA Division III champion Whitewater Warhawks. Dobratz will play for former UW-Whitewater offensive coordinator Stan Zweifel at the University of Dubuque, and Erickson is set to play basketball at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.
“All I know is that it’s nice to have these kids on my side instead of competing against them,” Matthys said of the four other Rock Valley standouts besides Wallace and Jacobson. “Even some of the guys that aren’t from the Rock have been playoff opponents.
“You hear about how good all these kids are, and then when you see them, you realize people were right. They’re as good as advertised.”
Jacobson and Hurtley get to line up one last time, closing a chapter while opening another.
“This is not your ordinary team,” Hurtley said. “You’re used to lining up against a kid that you can usually manhandle. Out here, everyone is as good as you.
“I know for me, it’s one last chance to bring my ‘A’ game.”