It’s not just being 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds that makes offensive lineman/defensive end Zach Jacobson such a big part of the King’s football team.
Although it helps.
King’s head coach Jim Shapiro praises Jacobson’s leadership above everything else. He said the senior can be counted on to help lead a much younger Knights’ squad than King’s has been used to in recent seasons.
“Across the board he’s obviously, physically big. He’s a real strong athlete for us,” Shapiro said. “…For me it’s his leadership both on and off the field. He’s a kid I can trust, and the program can trust, to do the right things at the right time.”
Herald Writer David Krueger talked with Jacobson about King’s recent success on televised games, becoming an Eagle Scout and discovers the secret to Jacobson’s growth spurt.
Q: Let’s start with your televised game (on Friday against Cedarcrest). You guys won in OT on TV, does it get any better than that?
A: It was an amazing, fun game to play. A little stressful at the end but definitely had a lot of fun. There were a lot of good things we did and a lot of things we need to fix. It was a blast.
Q: What was it like being on TV? Was your family calling to tell you they saw you?
A: Yeah. My dad had pretty much called everyone and let them know we were on so they could watch us. It’s cool at first but once you start playing the game it’s just the game and you’re not really worried about what’s going on.
Q: It’s your guys’ second win on TV in two years (including last year’s 40-15 win over Archbishop Murphy). Are you just meant for primetime?
A: I don’t know. It definitely creates a different situation. It’s a time to show off what we can do to the world. So we take the opportunity for what it is.
Q: King’s is off to a fast start this year with a 5-1 record, what’s been the secret to your early success?
A: I’d say just staying calm. A lot of times we’ve been down, or we haven’t been doing our best, but we stay calm and we get back in the game.
Q: With all the players you graduated last year, are you surprised the Knights have remained so successful?
A: I don’t know about surprised. I’m proud of a lot of the guys who have stepped up. I think we knew we had the potential, it was just whether they were actually going to or not. But they’ve all stepped up.
Q: Is there a favorite to win the Cascade Conference this year?
A: I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of teams that have definitely improved this year. I think it’s kind of a new playing field this year. It’s interesting. I don’t know if there’s an actual favorite.
Q: Is it weird, playing on Thursday, not having a game Friday night?
A: It’s a little weird. It’ll be nice. We get to go watch some of our other sports or one of the other football games. It’s a little longer weekend.
Q: What are your goals for the season?
A: I think we definitely would like to get to the Tacoma Dome. That’s been our dream for the last four years. We’ve gotten to the quarterfinals, it’s just, we to get past that point. But we just have to take it one game at a time at this point.
Q: Is this the year (after four straight state quarterfinals appearances) that you guys get past the quarterfinals?
A: Yeah, we’d really like to. It’s definitely something we’re going to work at. In the past years, looking too far ahead is what killed us, so it’s at this point we need to take it one game at a time and if we win that game we move to the next. And the next. That’s kind of our mindset.
Q: What are your duties as academic president of King’s?
A: It’s a lot of fun, working with academics. It’s something my parents have always told me to focus on. It’s kind of nice being able to represent it from a student-athlete’s perspective as well, because there’s a lot of athletes that have to work with time management to manage school work as well. It’s been a fun experience.
Q: Yeah, with football everyday how do you still find time to study and do homework? Or maybe you don’t?
A: (Laughs.) I do. There’s definitely some late nights. It’s definitely worth the work and the time it takes. Go to football, go home and do homework and go to bed. It keeps you busy. Keeps you out of trouble.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time — if you ever have any?
A: I like to ski. During the summer I like to go hiking and hunting and fishing. I’m kind of an outdoors guy.
Q: That helps explain how you became an Eagle Scout. How did you get into that?
A: My dad had actually been in Boy Scouts when he was young and he encouraged me to get in it. I loved it. I loved being outdoors and then just kind of worked through and got my Eagle Scout.
Q: You also travel quite a bit right? Where all have you been?
A: A couple years ago I went to Israel on a Christian Experience with my mom and a couple other people from school. That was a lot of fun. Then I went on a science trip to Costa Rica last year, just learned about a lot of different biological things and how delicate nature is. Just a lot of education. Just getting to see the world, I find it really exciting getting to see new cultures and get new experiences.
Q: Where’s the coolest place you’ve been to? Does one kind of stand out?
A: I’d probably have to say Israel. That was just an incredible experience because I’m a Christian and seeing all the places you read about in The Bible was just absolutely incredible.
Q: What are your plans for after high school? Besides continuing to travel.
A: I definitely want to go to college. I’d like to play college football. (Schools have) been something that’s just recently started and it’d be really fun. I’ve had a ton of fun in high school and I’d like to continue it. And then also, at the same time, have a good academic experience. There’s a lot of options. It’s going to be a hard decision, but a fun decision.
Q: What schools are talking to you about playing for them?
A: I’ve talked to quite a few schools in the Northwest, but also on the east coast. Montana State, Portland State, U-Dub, I’ve talked to Princeton and Columbia and a couple other places on the east coast. So I’m kind of looking all over right now.
Q: Is there one that stands out? Like a dream school?
A: Not right now. There’s a lot of great schools. It’s going to be a hard decision, if they offer, deciding where I should go.
Q: Do you know what you want to study and whichever university you end up at?
A: Probably something in engineering. I’m not exactly sure which track. Maybe something to do with biological or bio-mechanics or something.
Q: Finally, at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, you’re a pretty big dude. I topped out at 5’8”. What’s your secret?
A: I drank a lot of milk when I was young. I drank like a gallon of milk a day. I drank a lot of milk. I don’t know if that’s why, but I love milk.