Immanuel Eagles land first 2023 football victory

Eagles senior QB Jake Horn sounds off with 402 yards and 4 TD passes in rout of Fowler, short week awaits with Sept. 7 contest in Fresno against McLane

Immanuel High receiver Jackson Leibee sprints downfield on a 59-yard third quarter catch and run during the Eagles’ 35-12 victory over Fowler High on Sept. 1. The sophomore finished with four receptions for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published September 5, 2023  • 
9:30 am

REEDLEY – The Immanuel High Eagles let loose with a potent and versatile passing attack on Sept. 1, picking up their first football victory of 2023 against a Fowler High team heavily hit by graduation.

Senior quarterback Jake Horn completed 13 of 18 passes for 402 yards and four touchdowns, and the Eagles capitalized on a week off with a strong bounceback to defeat the Redcats, 35-12, at County Line Stadium. Immanuel (1-1) scored a pair of early touchdowns, leading 21-6 at halftime and then turning away a pair of third-quarter scoring threats before breaking the game open.

“Fowler’s a tough team; those guys fight and scrap and they lost a lot of great players,” Eagles coach Josh Henderson said of the Redcats, who fell to 0-3 on the season. “Our quarterback Jake Horn and our receivers really put on a display tonight and showed some of the potential that they had.”

Horn threw for two touchdowns, including a 59-yarder, to sophomore Jackson Leibee (four catches for 94 yards) along with scoring hookups to seniors Trey Romo (five catches for 152 yards) and Talen Case (three catches for 92 yards). Those included long pass players covering 62 yards to Romo and 60 yards to Case.

Horn’s passing was of the big play variety, as he averaged 30.9 yards per completion. Sophomore Seth Hutchinson had just one catch, but it also was a big one covering 60 yards. In addition, Immanuel was able to add 92 rushing yards to its total offense of 500 yards, with John Viscarra gaining 50 yards and Leibee adding a short TD run.

Defensively, Immanuel collected three sacks including one by Tyler Romo, who led the team with 14 tackles including two for loss.

“Obviously, there’s always a lot we can get better at, and we’re really fortunate for the win,” Henderson said. “We had good ball security tonight, that was a big problem against Justin Garza (in a season-opening loss Aug. 18). I think we’re improving, so let’s see what we can do.”

Henderson, starting his third full season with the program, is pleased with how the program’s nucleus continues to grow. That includes a full junior varsity squad for this fall, and a strong group of assistant coaches who are good leaders and committed to developing the players.

“We encourage every boy on campus to play football, or be involved in some co-curricular activity,” he said. In addition to the solid student and parental support, the school has started a drum line group that provided a new jolt of spirit from the student body. 

The Eagles have a short week to try to build a winning streak, as they travel to Fresno for a 7:30 p.m non-league game in Fresno against McLane High on Thursday, Sept. 7.

“We have a tough test, and it’s a Thursday night turnaround. We’ve got about four minutes to enjoy this (win),” Henderson said.

Horn threw for two touchdowns, including a 59-yarder, to sophomore Jackson Leibee (four catches for 94 yards) along with scoring hookups to seniors Trey Romo (five catches for 152 yards) and Talen Case (three catches for 92 yards). Those included long pass players covering 62 yards to Romo and 60 yards to Case.

Horn’s passing was of the big play variety, as he averaged 30.9 yards per completion. Sophomore Seth Hutchinson had just one catch, but it also was a big one covering 60 yards. In addition, Immanuel was able to add 92 rushing yards to its total offense of 500 yards, with John Viscarra gaining 50 yards and Leibee adding a short TD run.

Jon Earnest
Reporter