Column: St. Francis’ offensive linemen are devouring their assignments

Quarterback Jack Jacobs (16) and running back Max Garrison (2) join teammates in acknowledging their fans.
La Cañada St. Francis quarterback Jack Jacobs (16) and running back Max Garrison (2) benefit from St. Francis’ offensive line.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Every Tuesday, the family of quarterback Jack Jacobs invites the La Cañada St. Francis offensive linemen over for a meal. They’re like a pack of lions eager to devour meat.

“They do eat a lot,” said Jacobs’ father, Brian. “Almost to the player, everyone comes for seconds and thirds.”

Now it becomes clear why St. Francis coach Dean Herrington calls the offensive line the best he’s coached, spanning some 35 years from his days coaching at Newhall Hart, Mission Hills Bishop Alemany and Lancaster Paraclete.


They’re motivated to protect Jacobs with their stomachs always growling. It’s called feeding the beasts.

Junior offensive lineman Racin Delgatty of St. Francis is 6-4, 320 pounds.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

The line includes left tackle Peter Terry (6 feet 3, 300 pounds), left guard Naasir Asiata-Tatum (6-2, 290), center Duncan Sprengel (6-2, 305), right guard Nicholas Ortega (5-11, 230) and right tackle Racin Delgatty (6-4, 320). Don’t forget sophomore Phillip Ocon (6-4, 325), who was starting at left tackle until an ankle injury.

“We just have a bunch of good guys up front who take control of the defensive line,” Jack Jacobs said.

Quarterbacks know they have to take care of their linemen to avoid waking up on Saturday morning with scabs and bruises all over their body. Former Lancaster Paraclete quarterback Brevin White used to bring breakfast burritos to his linemen during film sessions. A dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts will go a long way to showing appreciation to linemen.

Jacobs’ father knows something about being nice to linemen. He was an All-American offensive tackle at Hart, blocking for the late Jim Bonds, the former St. Francis coach. “Fortunately I only gave up one sack in three years at Hart,” he said.

He appreciates what the St. Francis linemen have been doing for his son.

“It’s funny,” he said. “I watch the line more than I watch my son. I watch him out of my peripheral vision.”

Against Santa Fe Springs St. Paul, the Golden Knights put together an 18-play drive in the third quarter that used up all but 36 seconds of the 12-minute quarter. Seventeen plays were runs. Max Garrison rushed for 136 yards during the 26-20 victory.

St. Francis is 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the Angelus League going into a showdown with rival Los Angeles Loyola to decide the league title on Friday night at St. Francis.

Herrington was brought in to replace Bonds, whom he mentored for years dating to their Hart days in the 1980s. Herrington’s best accomplishment was keeping intact Bonds’ veteran group of assistants. The line coach is Ted Corcoran, who was the interim coach last spring after Bonds’ death from cancer.

The years sure have gone by fast. Herrington was the sophomore coach at Hart with his brother, Rick, in 1985, when Brian Jacobs was a lineman and the team went 10-0. Jacobs’ two daughters, Katie, 22, and Allison, 20, have played volleyball at UCLA. Jack, who’s 6-6, came to St. Francis to be coached by Bonds. Now Herrington is carrying on Bonds’ legacy.

“It feels special being at Jimmy’s school,” Brian Jacobs said. “It’s amazing having Dean.”

Since Brian Jacobs used to be a lineman and knows how much linemen like to eat, he’s perfectly comfortable helping keep his son’s protectors happy with food.

“I’m grateful we have that line,” he said.