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Jacobs Leads Gila Monsters to Season-opening Victory

PIMA—The Eastern Arizona football team fought through a rocky first half and opened up regular season play Saturday night with a hard-earned 14-7 win over Pima College at Tucson High School.

In the first half, the Gila Monsters fumbled twice in the red zone and were stopped on fourth and goal from the two-yard line. Eastern Arizona head coach John O’Mera called the turnovers products of good defensive plays rather than mistakes by the offense.

“The turnovers we had were hits and things like that,” O’Mera said. “They weren’t option-related. (Cody vonAppen) did a good job managing the offense.”

The freshman quarterback ran the option more than not and had a 7-0 lead at the half thanks to a two-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Wayne Jacobs. After taking a toss from vonAppen, Jacobs jogged into the end zone untouched with 19.7 seconds remaining in the half. Sophomore kicker James Carew followed with the extra point.

Coming out of the locker room, the two teams kept each other scoreless for just over eight minutes. With 6:54 to go in the third quarter Jacobs took another option toss to the right from vonAppen and scampered 48 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Carew was good on the extra point and the Gila Monsters had a 14-0 cushion.

Pima quarterback Andrew Nicolas hooked up with Scott Campbell for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 6:17 remaining in the game, but that is as close as the Aztecs would get. Eastern Arizona’s defense clamped down from there for the final margin of 14-7.

Jacobs had a game-high 103 yards rushing on 15 carries while vonAppen notched 63 yards on 15 carries of his own.

The game was a story of two styles as the Gila Monsters totaled 252 yards on the ground and 21 yards through the air. Pima passed for 132 yards and ran the ball just 11 times for -11 yards.

“They had a good game plan and executed,” O’Mera said. “They did things to not hurt themselves.”

With the victory, Eastern Arizona goes to 1-0 overall and will host Mesa College on Saturday, September 12 at 6 p.m.

GAME NOTES: Two players returning from injury for this week’s game are freshman quarterback Damon Wicker (stress fracture), and sophomore defensive back Prince Ryans (dislocated knee cap).