Jackson Memorial has had many outstanding running backs in its 50-season history.
Fifteen of the last 17 seasons, the Jaguars have had a 1,000-yard rusher.
However, only one other Jaguars’ running back was been able to do what Khani Glover did last Friday night in Jackson Memorial’s eye-opening 62-44 win over Lacey at Jackson Memorial’s Jack Munley Field.
Glover, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior, rushed for a career-high 300 yards and two touchdowns. His yardage total was the second most for a single game in school history behind the 308 Aaron Edwards ran for on Thanksgiving Day 1996 against Southern.
“Not that I can rank with them (the good running backs Jackson Memorial has had). They were really good,” Glover said. “That I can be mentioned in the same sentence with them makes me feel really good.”
Jackson Memorial (4-2, 4-1), which is tied with Brick (5-2, 4-1) for first place in Shore Conference Class A South with two divisional games remaining in the season, had not ever been involved in a game like the Lacey one.
The Jaguars set school records for points in a game and rushing yards in a game with 501. The 106 combined points was the most in a game in Jackson Memorial history. The 62 points was the most Lacey had allowed in its 33-season history. The Lions had never allowed more than 45 points in a game.
“It was wild,” Glover said. “To hear we broke our school record (for points in a game) is crazy. Me being close to the rushing record was crazy.”
Jackson Memorial head coach Walt Krystopik and his offensive assistant coaches made a decision during the week that perhaps helped Glover and senior fullback Ken Bradley both have huge nights. Bradley ran for 127 yards and five TDs.
The Jaguars used mostly the I-formation against Lacey after utilizing mostly the spread formation in the first five games of the season. Jackson Memorial ran the I-formation with great success for many seasons. It went to the spread several years ago.
“We wanted to change up and go back to ‘Jaguar Football’ and run downhill a lot,” Glover said. “We just wanted to be hard-nosed, run between the tackles and get after it.”
Glover, who has rushed for 739 yards and nine TDs, got excited during the week when the coaching staff implemented the change in formation.
“My eyes lit up as soon as I heard that,” Glover said. “Seeing the new plays on the board when we over them was great. I felt really good about them. Just running through the holes was great.”
‘The new plays’ Glover was referring to were nothing revolutionary. They were plays almost as old as the game of football itself. The plays Glover said the Jaguars ran were power, counter and dive.
“Anything up the middle. It was great,” Glover said.
Another thing the change in formation enabled the Jaguars to do was to line up with two backs in the backfield. Glover said either he or Bradley had been lining up as the running back behind the quarterback with the other lining up at slotback when the Jaguars were operating out of the spread.
“It (having Bradley line up at fullback) added another dimension to our team,” Glover said. “Me being a smaller back and him being a big power back was great. They didn’t know what to expect.”
The fireworks started on the third play of the game when Glover took a power play 49 yards for a TD.
Glover’s second TD came later in the first quarter on a 1-yard run out of the wishbone set. Jackson Memorial has used the wishbone a lot over the years when it has been near the goal-line.
The final TD came on a 61-yard run on a power play in the fourth quarter — a quarter that saw the two teams combine for 41 points and six TDs.
The outburst also perhaps enabled Jackson Memorial to find its identity as it heads into key games against Southern and Brick the next two weeks. Two wins will give the Jaguars their first divisional title since 2005 and a solid seed in the NJSIAA South Group V playoffs. Jackson Memorial is currently fourth in the South V power rankings.
“We came together as a family and played as one,” Glover said.