It wasn't just smash-mouth football Jacobs played in Friday's 56-28 Fox Valley Conference victory over Crystal Lake South in Algonquin.
Yes, the Golden Eagles can push folks around with their massive offensive line, led by 6-foot-3 SIU commit Jimmy Wormsley and 6-4 Cade Purifoye, each a biscuit shy of 300 pounds, but they play a tricky kind of smash-mouth football that sets up blocking angles with traps and counters. It's a scheme that netted 246 rushing yards against the winless Gators.
"It's the misdirection that they run," said Crystal Lake South first-year coach Rob Fontana, a Jacobs graduate. "Their linemen are so big and physical. They were able to move us out of the gaps a little bit and create big holes for their backs to run through."
Jacobs senior running back Loren Strickland rushed for 147 of his 158 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half as the Golden Eagles raced to a 49-14 lead. Jacobs (2-1, 2-1) gained 354 first-half yards compared to 134 for Crystal Lake South (0-3, 0-3).
"It was great. It was fantastic," said Strickland, who scored on runs of 7, 15 and 69 yards. "I mean, we could always have better, but this is one of our more favorable games and I think this is what we're going to need later on in the year. We all just clicked as a group."
"We did what we wanted to offensively in the first half," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said.
That included throwing the ball. All of junior quarterback Anthony Wilson's 135 yards came in the first half on 5-of-10 passing. He punctuated a near-perfect first half from the Jacobs viewpoint by connecting with Jermaine Maegdlin-Ferguson for a 35-yard touchdown on a streak up the left sideline with 2.5 seconds left.
Trailing 20-0 in the first quarter, Crystal Lake South got on the board when senior quarterback Dylan Rhoades found junior Jacob Rana on fourth-and-3 from the 5. The short pass capped a 7-play, 44-yard drive, but the Gators were otherwise inconsistent on offense. Junior running back Justin Ryan led CL South with 75 yards rushing on 12 carries. Senior running back Kyle Leva left the game midway through due to an injury.
How dominant a first half was it for Jacobs? After Strickland's 69-yard touchdown run, the Golden Eagles scored on the following kickoff when senior Jakauri Bland stripped the Crystal Lake South returner and sped 40 yards for a touchdown. Junior kicker Patrick Castellano's extra point staked Jacobs to a 42-7 lead with 6:44 left in the second quarter.
"My whole team's there, I see the ball, strip it and the running back from the old days comes back," Bland, a cornerback, said of his first high school touchdown.
A running clock was initiated after Caleb Walker scored the second of his 2 touchdowns on a 5-yard run with 7:40 left in the third quarter. That allowed Jacobs to rest some starters with a 56-14 lead ahead of next week's showdown against Cary-Grove (2-1, 2-1).
"We're playing where we thought we should be playing after Game 3 and we've got a big one coming up," Mitz said.