Phil Anastasia: Jackopin maintains focus as Shawnee prevails, 20-16

Shawnee quarterback Jamie Jackopin (13) is chased by Cherry Hill East's David Friedman in the first quarter. Jackopin engineered the winning drive with under three minutes left in the fourth quarter, sneaking over from the 1-yard line.
Shawnee quarterback Jamie Jackopin (13) is chased by Cherry Hill East's David Friedman in the first quarter. Jackopin engineered the winning drive with under three minutes left in the fourth quarter, sneaking over from the 1-yard line. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)

The QB scored the winning TD with 27 seconds left to beat Cherry Hill East.

Posted: October 07, 2011

Jamie Jackopin plays one of those positions in which a short memory is as important as quick feet and good hands.

Actually, he plays two of them.

"I always tell him, 'As a quarterback and defensive back, the most important play is the next play,' " Shawnee coach Tim Gushue said. "You can't worry about what just happened. You have to move on."

Jackopin's resiliency carried Shawnee to a 20-16 victory over Cherry Hill East on Thursday in a West Jersey Football League thriller.

His right arm and competitive heart helped, too.

On Shawnee's final drive of the game, Jackopin was 6-for-8 passing for 70 yards and ran twice for seven yards. He scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard sneak with 27 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

It was some great work in the clutch by the senior quarterback.

But the most impressive thing might have been Jackopin's ability to shake off the disappointment of some earlier moments, both on offense and defense.

"I felt like I was letting my team down," Jackopin said of his passing in the first half.

In truth, he was being too hard on himself. Jackopin was 4-for-6 passing for 65 yards in the first half, although a late interception nearly cost the Renegades.

He also set up Shawnee's go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter with a 46-yard run to the Cherry Hill East 2-yard line.

But Jackopin was troubled by his play on defense. He had been the defender when Taj Frazier caught passes for both of the Cougars' touchdowns, including a remarkable, 14-yard grab on a fourth and 9 that ended up giving the home team a 16-13 lead with just 2 minutes, 50 seconds on the clock.

"I was really down," Jackopin said. "I know as a quarterback I can't be that way. I learned a lesson."

Jackopin's spirits received an immediate lift from Shawnee senior Kyle Wigley, a standout running back and defensive back who was lost for the season two weeks ago with a knee injury.

"He picked me right up," Jackopin said. "He told me we had time. He told me I could do it. I love the kid. I was thinking about him the whole drive."

Shawnee isn't a passing team, and Jackopin isn't an experienced quarterback. He played the position as a freshman, but was a running back and defensive back as a sophomore and junior.

Jackopin had been solid through four weeks for Shawnee (4-1), the No. 7 team in the Inquirer Top 10. But the Renegades' good start came mostly because of a powerful ground game and sturdy defense.

With 2:50 on the clock and Shawnee down by three points, Jackopin needed to make plays.

He passed 11 yards to Eric Spires. He ran for 6. After an incompletion, he hit Spires again for an apparent first down, but an offensive pass-interference penalty pushed the Renegades back and resulted in a loss of down.

Suddenly, it was fourth and 18.

Jackopin hit Zach McHale for around 16, and the junior wide receiver battled for the last 2 yards and the first down.

"That was huge," Jackopin said.

Jackopin hit Spires for 9. He hit McHale for 9. He hit Rob DiOrio for 8 and then again for 15 for a first down on the East 3.

"He showed what kind of competitor he is," Gushue said.

Two plays later, Jackopin was in the end zone. The touchdown stood up as the winning score as Shawnee survived one final challenge from East (3-2), which drove to the 7-yard line in the final seconds.

"Even I didn't think I could do it that well," Jackopin said. "It was the line and my receivers. They were the ones who helped me step up for my team."

Shawnee 0 7 6 7 – 20

Cherry Hill East 6 3 0 7 – 16

CHE: Frazier 34 pass from Gold (kick failed)

CHE: FG Suli 31

S: DiOrio 2 run (White kick)

S: DiOrio 2 run (pass failed)

CHE: Frazier 14 pass from Gold (Suli kick)

S: Jackopin 1 run (White kick)


Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com,

or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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