Back in Black: Midfielder pacing LSC-leading Hawks
For the player who Hermantown teammates call Jack Black, the 2007 high school boys soccer season was no laughing matter. Jake Black's junior season nearly ended before it began. Going up for a header against Proctor in the season-opening Lake Sup...
For the player who Hermantown teammates call Jack Black, the 2007 high school boys soccer season was no laughing matter.
Jake Black's junior season nearly ended before it began. Going up for a header against Proctor in the season-opening Lake Superior Conference Jamboree, Black received an opponent's elbow or shoulder in the face.
The result was a jaw broken in two places and a possible concussion that sidelined the midfielder for half the season.
"I didn't really know what happened," Black said. "I got up and couldn't remember until I got off the field. I think I was in shock."
After surgery, Black couldn't eat solid foods for quite a while.
"My mouth was rubber-banded shut so I had to eat through a straw," he said. "Lots of mashed potatoes, ewww!"
Black said he was upset to have to watch from the sideline, and when he did return he spent much of the remaining time getting back into shape.
Hermantown still excelled, recording a 15-4 record and a second-place finish in the LSC behind eventual Class A state champion Duluth Marshall.
As with any other injury, Hawks coach Dave Thompson simply plugged another player in Black's spot and moved on.
"It was a lot harder on Jake than on us," Thompson said. "The hard part for me was seeing him just sitting and watching, knowing how much he loves the game. We have other guys who can step in and fill all the spots. But you really can't replace a kid like Jake and the leader that he is."
This season is going much better for Black, who was voted team captain. He has four goals and three assists for the Hawks (10-2-1 overall, 8-1-1 LSC), who tied Duluth Central 1-1 on Thursday at home to remain six points ahead of the Trojans (8-3-1, 5-1-1) in the conference race, with less than two weeks left in the regular season.
Midfielder Michael Stocke countered Central midfielder Jake Samuelson's second-minute goal with one in the 27th minute, and goalkeepers Matt Erickson of Central and Andrew Samberg of Hermantown kept the game scoreless the rest of the way.
Central won the first meeting 2-1 and would win the conference by sweeping its five remaining LSC matches. But don't count out a healthy Hawks squad.
"I think if we keep playing better every game, like we have been, I have no question we'll be one of the top [seeds] in the section," Thompson said. "I tell my guys all the time that to get [to the state tournament] you have to be good, you have to be healthy and you have to be lucky. Being good sometimes isn't enough."
Duluth Central 1-0-0-0--1
First half -- 1. DC, Jake Samuelson (Chris Meier), 2nd; 2. H, Michael Stocke (Brandon Crusan), 27th.
Second half -- No scoring.
First overtime -- No scoring.
Second overtime -- No scoring.
Saves -- Matt Erickson, DC, 10; Andrew Samberg, H, 6.