Sloppy. Stop and Go. Stalled drives. Jacobs' opener Friday night could have been played on Randall Road.
Though, sloppy wasn't in running back Caz Zyks' vocabulary.
Even as Jacobs fumbled 4 times, lost 2 of them and came up empty on its first 3 drives, Zyks still ran like he had just robbed a bank. On 17 carries, Zyks, his own getaway car, rushed for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns to help lead Jacobs to a 21-6 opening night victory over nonconference opponent Joliet West in Algonquin.
Zyks led a rushing attack that amassed 310 yards rushing, combining for 347 total yards
"He's a great player. He's worked hard and he made some great plays," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said.
Joliet West (0-1) surprised the Golden Eagle defense with quarterback keepers for much of the first half but Jacobs looked shakier on offense. Its first 2 drives resulted in punts. Drive No. 3 ended on a fumble midway through the second quarter and helped set up a 7-play 46-yard drive capped by Andrew Drummond's 2-yard score to put Joliet up 6-0.
"You always get those first game jitters," said Zyks. "And from there you just keep playing and then every finally plays out."
It did for Zyks. On Jacobs' next drive, Zyks answered with an 18-yard scamper on 1 play, used a 22-yard slant from quarterback Jason Judson to Jake Gierlak to set up an 8-yard run that helped Jacobs gain a 7-6 lead with 49.7 left in the half.
"The line did an excellent job, we started off rough in the beginning. The line stepped up at halftime and we just came out and played well," Zyks said.
Minus a fumble on Jacobs' first possession in the third, the offense rolled. Zyks rushed for another score late in the third, then busted the gate wide open on a 65-yard run benefited by a great block by fullback Kyle Wright to make it 21-6 with 9:42 in the fourth.
Wright rushed 10 times for 56 yards. He accumulated those yards like he was a bull in a bullfight.
"That's a typical Mitz team right there," Tigers coach Jason Aubry. "He's going to grind it out, he's going to do what he wants to do."
Joliet West quickly raced down the field on a late hit penalty and a 10-yard run by Hargrove to set up shot at the Golden Eagle 9 on the next drive. But that was extinguished when junior defensive back Greg Sidor picked off Zack DiVarco's pass at the 5. Sidor returned it to the 40-yard-line with 6:43 remaining.
"They're driving in that red zone and it's a crucial stop," said Sidor. "Going the other way helps our team gain momentum and helps us win the game."
Joliet West went 1-for-9 on drives and struggled to stop the run while their running game by committee established 160 yards. Jacobs wasn't ready for the Tigers to come out running keepers with an athletic quarterback in Kameron Hargrove, who rushed for 89 yards. But turnovers are a concern as well for Mitz.
"They're going to be carrying the ball in school," Mitz said.