After a stellar rookie season, football Mounties quarterback Jakob Loucks is looking forward to returning to the gridiron.
SACKVILLE, N.B. – He is one young man with his head screwed on right but that may come as a surprise since he nearly had it severed from his body one day last fall.
Yes, that would be Mount Allison Mountie quarterback Jakob Loucks, who has the confidence of his coach to lead the team to its fifth consecutive Loney Bowl Game this fall as a wrap up of play in the Atlantic Universities Football Conference.
It was the first quarter of last season’s Loney Bowl match against the St. FX X-Men when the wall came crashing down and when the pile was uncovered Loucks lay motionless believing he was paralyzed. After a nearly 30-minute delay he was taken by ambulance to hospital where a battery of tests were performed. Meanwhile, demonstrating his close family connection, he demanded his phone so he could call his parents in Cornwall and tell them he was going to survive.
Cleared by hospital personnel to leave he caught a drive back to the field of action and when coaches learned he was OK he stepped back into action and led the team the length of the field. While his exploits were not quite enough to pull victory out of the fire it made him a household name in he football world.
A little later he was selected the Conference rookie-of-the-year and subsequently the top rookie in Canada. And later he was named the MVP of the Mounties, a rather unusual honor for a rookie.
Now for a little bit about this sturdy 5’9”, 195-pound Cornwall native, a first generation Canadian to Dutch parents. He was attracted to the game of football as a mere youngster and played up through the ranks in the Cornwall Wildcats system, first as a running back and then when his team’s signal caller went down it has been behind the centre ever since.
In Grade 10 he led his school as a top passer/rusher but when the call came to move across the border to Buffalo, N.Y., with financial considerations to suit up with Canisus – a prep school in Buffalo – he gladly accepted, hoping such exposure could lead to interest by one of the many huge universities in the US.
While his hopes of being recruited south of the border failed, the experience of playing in front of 20,000 rabid fans seasoned him for what was to come. After visiting such Canadian schools as McMaster and a couple of others he came to Sackville and “within one hour I was convinced this was the place for me.”
Of course encouragement from previous head coach Kelly Jeffrey and Gaetan Richard followed up by an offer from new head coach Scott Brady clinched the deal and it’s one that he’s now happy he made.
Loucks may appear short for a quarterback in the conference but he more than makes up for this perceived handicap with an amazing ability to turn broken plays into huge gains with a quick pair of feet and his previous experience as a tailback. It also allows him to earn extra time in the pocket as opposing rushers are fearful of committing too soon.
Asked if the transition from high school to university competition was made more difficult for him since he was shifting from US four down ball to a new system in Sackville he said “somewhat”, but he quickly overcame this and proved to be just what Brady needed.
Actually, Loucks not only had to overcome a couple of handicaps in making the transition but was forced, as a rookie, to step directly into the huge shoes vacated by Brendon Leyh who had led the team to a trio of Loney Bowls and won national semi-final matchups.
Like many other top football players at this level Loucks has no misconceptions about his future in the game. Currently enrolled in psychology, his primary goal is to earn a degree and enlist with the Ontario Provincial Police as a police officer. Should any offers come from the pros he would consider them but his aim is an education and a career as a law enforcement officer.
And even though several of his mates from last season will be missing when the Mountie camp opens on Aug. 11, Loucks believes the coaching staff has assembled a strong team, one that definitely should be in the mix come fall.
Already Kelly Jeffrey has contributed to Loucks’ skillset by working with him at spring camp. Jeffrey has a long record of developing outstanding quarterbacks and the current Mountie signal caller understands why.
With a couple of outstanding running backs, a huge offensive line and a much improved aerial attack, and new dimension added by Loucks’ ability to scramble for huge gains, the Mounties just might set a new team record – five consecutive trips to the Loney Bowl.
Added to that is the fact the young quarterback is a “happy camper” at Mount Allison and in the greater community, citing the unusual move by The town of Sackville in recognizing outstanding performances by having one day a year named “Mountie Day.”
May it be so with such an influx of “Titan grads” who promise to add a new perspective of our “home town” team.