Country Day will soon play its last football game with an Ibieta on the field.
Justin Ibieta was a standout quarterback who took the Cajuns deep into the playoffs and is now in his third season with the Tulane football team. Jake Ibieta is a younger brother who plays on the offensive and defensive lines and displays a football intellect that makes coach Chris Chetta’s job a little easier.
Their sister Jenna preceded the two as a five-year-old volleyball player who also played basketball. Their mother, Julie, is a volleyball coach.
“I grew up watching them,” said Jake, a three-sport athlete who plays basketball and baseball. “Now I get to play as a senior. It’s been a lot of fun this year.”
No. 9 Country Day (5-5) will have a home game this week against No. 24 Green Oaks (2-8) in the first round of the LHSAA Division III select playoffs.
Country Day won its regular season finale Saturday as the Cajuns defeated ML King 42-19.
Jake, at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, is a two-way starter on the offensive and defensive lines who earned more playing time with each passing year.
His freshman season came when Justin was a senior. The next year as a sophomore, Jake became a starting guard. He started playing defense as a junior and now only comes off the field during kickoffs.
“Just a high IQ when it comes to athletics in general,” Chetta said. “He plays football, basketball and starts on the baseball team, so he’s a three-sport guy. He is a major contributor in all three sports. One of the captains of the football team.”
Chetta relayed a story about how Ibieta, now a left tackle on offense, saved him from having to call a player off the field when that player made a foul.
It happened in the second quarter on Saturday.
“We ran a power run play and somebody went and blocked the wrong guy and left somebody unblocked,” Chetta said. “(Jake) knew right away. Right when the whistle went for no gain or loss of 1 yard he knew who missed the block and I could see him say to the person, ‘Hey, you’ve got to block this.’
“It was almost as if I was on the field to tell the kid something that I would do in training. He understands what to do and how to help each other on the football pitch.”
Senior leading rusher Jack Schwing appreciates the help Ibieta provides.
“When we get back to the huddle, Jake will talk to people and tell them what they did and what needs to happen on the next play,” Schwing said. “You can see it. People listen to him in droves, and it works.”
Ibieta makes those coaching points because he gets “super hyper-competitive when I’m on the court,” he said. “If I see something, I will try to correct it because I will do everything to win.”
He got that competitiveness from his brother, he said.
“Justin never let him win anything,” said Julie, whose volleyball team has won 12 state championships and could finish 13th this weekend in Lafayette. “Justin always pushed him. Justin challenged him on everything.
“When Jake was physically able to compete with him, it only made him better. He’s learned a lot from his older siblings.”
The three Ibieta children have been a part of Country Day high school athletics since Jenna started playing volleyball in 2012.
“I didn’t realize it’s been 10 years,” Julie Ibieta said. “It’s wild. Every day, week, month that goes by, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that my kids have gone through Country Day so quickly.”