CROWN POINT | Last autumn was a little strange for Jake Jatis. The Crown Point sophomore quarterback spent most of the football season on the sidelines.
He was a backup. Until, that is, the sectional opener against Munster, when senior signal caller Joe Hopman broke his collar bone early and coaches called upon the 6-foot-5 Jatis.
"It was no breeze," Jatis said, "but I kept telling myself, 'The more composed I am the more composed the guys around me will be. I had to remain calm and confidant."
C.P. slipped past Munster with Jatis at QB. Then it beat Valparaiso, which was even more special because the Vikings had beaten the 'Dogs in the regular season.
In the championship, Crown Point avenged another previous loss at Merrillville.
The same scenario will have to take place again in order for C.P. to repeat as sectional champions.
Jatis did all that last year with an injury that gave him a "dead arm." He was on the shelf for six months after the season ended.
He says he is 100 percent now.
"Jake has done everything that we've asked of him," C.P. coach Kevin Enright said. "He's worked hard. He's a very mature and composed kid. The sky's the limit for him."
The sky will be purple tonight, though. The Pirates pounded the 'Dogs 40-12 in Week 3. Last year Merrillville beat C.P. 21-20 in the regular season.
The sectional final score was 42-21.
"We have to overcome what happened in the regular season," said Jatis, who is a 4.2 student in honors classes. "We have to put that out of our mind. They have a lot of athletes over there. We have to keep them in check and play our game."
Jatis was a standout pitcher in the spring before the injury. He doesn't plan to pitch anymore to save his arm for the football season. He's gotten brief attention from football coaches at Indiana, Iowa State and Notre Dame, but nothing close to an offer yet.
The injury has slowed the recruiting process.
Jatis had three interceptions in the first quarter at Lake Central last Friday. It didn't get him down. He had two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in the 21-14 win.
"Merrillville can score very quickly," Enright said. "We have to eliminate big plays. They demoralize the kids and the adults, too. Big plays are hard to overcome. We need to give them the minimal amount of snaps and make them earn everything they get."