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Sports

Football Notes: Jackson Murphy stacking up the sacks for Sandwich 'D'

Yorkville, Oswego East 'D' also getting it done during 3-0 starts

A swarm of Sandwich defenders stuff Herscher quarterback Tyler Jarnagin, trying to rip out the ball before the whistle during the varsity homecoming football game against Herscher at Sandwich High School on Friday, September 29, 2017. Steven Buyansky - For Shaw Media
A swarm of Sandwich defenders stuff Herscher quarterback Tyler Jarnagin, trying to rip out the ball before the whistle during the varsity homecoming football game against Herscher at Sandwich High School on Friday, September 29, 2017. Steven Buyansky - For Shaw Media

Jackson Murphy describes himself as an occasional blitzer.

His stats suggest otherwise.

Murphy, a Sandwich junior, has put up eye-opening numbers from his "Indian," or outside linebacker position through three games.

Murphy has seven sacks to go along with 30 tackles, 20 of them solos, an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

"It surprised me when coach told me the other day that I had seven sacks," Murphy said. "I'm dropping back in coverage a lot. Every once in a while I blitz off the edge."

With Murphy and Jimmy Roop on the edge, Sandwich is in good hands. It's just one reason the surprise Indians are 3-0 heading into Friday's home game with Wilmington.

"Jackson has just been a monster all over the field," Sandwich coach Kris Cassie said. "He is just having a stellar year at that Indian position. We didn't even realize how good of a year he was having. The kid is taking it up to a whole new level."

Murphy played middle linebacker last year for Sandwich. He put on about 20-30 pounds in the offseason, and was moved outside. Now his brother Wyatt is manning the middle.

"I just play it how I normally would, read and go get the ball," Murphy said of his new position. "It took a couple weeks to figure it out. After that it was pretty easy to get into it."

Last week, that meant checking Manteno's Anthony Lopez. Lopez had a 76-yard touchdown in the second quarter, but managed just two catches for four yards the rest of the game.

Murphy's favorite among his greatest hits? A Week 2 sack against Harvard.

"I came around the edge, and he didn't see me," Murphy said. "I totally creamed him. He fumbled it and Sean Smith picked it up for a touchdown. It was awesome."

Piasecki, Foxes defense proving stingy

Yorkville returned nine starters defensively this year, and that unit has been as good as advertised through three games.

It's a new look, though.

Jake Piasecki, Yorkville's strong side defensive end, explained that this year's scheme is very different. The Foxes (3-0) are playing a four-main front. Their most athletic linemen, Piasecki and Nick Stemmet, are on the edge to rush the quarterback, with Keenan Ness, Josh Schroeder, Josh Slavin and Jacob Race rotating inside.

"What we noticed is how our D-line dominates the line, and while doing so we keep our linebackers free to do whatever and make big plays," Piasecki said. "Also, with how athletic our line is, we dominate the line and make big plays ourselves."

Piasecki, for one, said he definitely feels like a different player this year.

"I've definitely got stronger and faster, especially through the coaching at Yorkville," Piasecki said. "It's made me a better player with the drills and lifting program here."

The Foxes, who have allowed just 20 points through three games, figure to get their stiffest most physical test this week at Morris.

"It's what coach Williams always says," Piasecki said, "do your job and the game is easy, so when we execute our responsibilities and play to the whistle and be the toughest 11 on the field, that's what brings success."

Wolves' 'D' getting it done

Anytime you've outscored opponents 91-6 through three weeks like Oswego East has, you're feeling good about things.

How dominant has the Wolves' defense been?

The only score it's allowed, against Joliet West, the Tigers got the ball inside the Wolves' 15 on a punt. Joliet's quarterback was stripped on a run, the ball bounced three times right to the receiver for a score.

"We're feeling pretty good about our defense," Wolves coach Tyson LeBlanc said, "but we will be tested a little bit. Joliet Central has a super-athletic quarterback."

Plenty of credit to pass around on Oswego East, but Stone Gorman and Andre Wiggins are two guys getting it done.

Gorman this year was moved from safety to linebacker, allowing him to be more stout against the run and set the edge.

"Stone's just an ultra-smart football player," LeBlanc said. "He has almost been the quarterback of our defense."

Wiggins, putting in the time in the offseason, put on 20 pounds this offseason and is a force on the defensive line.

"Andre is another one of those high-energy guys on defense," LeBlanc said. "We hope teams try to single block him, and hopefully they pay for it."

Adeoti's first starts

Former Plano star Izzy Adeoti got his first two collegiate start for North Dakota the past two weeks. Adeoti had two catches for seven yards in North Dakota's 45-3 loss Saturday to Washington, giving him five catches for 47 yards through two games.

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