Running the football to set up the pass isn't a new idea but it's still a good idea, and it worked pretty well for Jacobs in a 48-0 nonconference victory over Glenbard East in Algonquin Friday.
The Golden Eagles rolled to victory in a game they had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Jacobs improved to 4-3 behind an offense that amassed 541 total yards and a defense that limited Glenbard East (1-6) to 256 total yards, 94 via the rush.
"Every single game from here on out is a playoff game," said Jacobs wide receiver Trevor Loewen, a transfer from St. Edward who caught 3 passes for 53 yards, including touchdowns of 8 and 23 yards. " That's what our coaches are telling us: we have to win them all. We have to win out to guarantee a (playoff) spot."
Jacobs continued a trend of running the ball more often than it throws, a switch in philosophy hall-of-fame coach Bill Mitz made at halftime of a loss at McHenry two weeks ago. The Golden Eagles have since scored 123 points in a 10-quarter span.
Against the Rams, Jacobs ran the ball 26 times and put it in the air 16 times. Both methods worked. The team ran for 305 yards, led by a pair of 100-yard rushers: juniors Loren Strickland (9 carries, 122 yards, 2 touchdowns) and David Butros (8-102, TD).
Bowling Green-bound senior quarterback Chris Katrenick was sharp, too. He completed 10 of 16 attempts for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns after his first pass of the game was tipped and intercepted.
"That's tough when you've got a kid that good who's on point for the night, Glenbard East coach John Walters said of Katrenick. "And he was on point."
"We're running the ball a little bit more with what I keep calling the old stuff -- stuff we did at Stevenson and here even the first couple of years," said Mitz, now in his seventh season at Jacobs after 28 seasons at Stevenson. "And Chris threw the ball extremely well, so we're not just one-dimensional. You can't just run it every down if you want to be good at the end of the year in the real season."
Glenbard East was undermined by mistakes from start to finish. On the first play of the game, the Rams ran a double-reverse pass. The receiver was open but the ball was overthrown.
Later, Glenbard East went for it on fourth down only to fumble a shotgun snap. In the fourth quarter they were at the 1-yard line poised to dent the scoreboard when another high shotgun snap cost them 13 yards.
But if any play typifies Glenbard East's 2016 struggles, it was a first-quarter fumble. Sophomore quarterback Bret Bushka -- one of 15 underclassmen who started for Glenbard East Friday -- broke away for a 60-yard run. However, Jacobs junior Jukari Bland caught him from behind, stripped the ball as he tackled Bushka 14 yards shy of the end zone and recovered the fumble.
"That's our whole season right there in a nutshell," Walters said.