CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — For Zack Cobb, last Friday night was pure Charles Dickens. In other words, it was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
The Gordon Lee High School senior running back had a career night in a 33-7 opening-game win over Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, rushing for 235 yards and two touchdowns. In doing so Cobb established himself as one of northwest Georgia's top playmakers for 2013.
He also reaffirmed that heavy doses of antibiotics and football rarely work well together. If you plan to watch highlights of Cobb's big night, skip ahead after each of his touchdowns.
"It was a rough night. I threw up three or four times, including both times after I scored," said a laughing Cobb, who had battled a stomach virus all week. "That part wasn't fun, but we were doing so well that I didn't want to mess up our mojo. The way my line was blocking, I didn't want to do anything to ruin that."
Cobb's performance also reaffirmed his standing as a leader on a Trojans team that graduated a large senior class following a disappointing 5-6 campaign.
"He was really sick during the week and he had very little practice," coach Charlie Wiggins said. "He came to me before the game and said he was ready to go, and once he got going in the game, despite getting sick, he didn't want to leave. As a team captain he didn't want to let anybody down. What he did spoke volumes to the younger kids who are looking up to him."
Several of those younger players reside are in the offensive line, which came into the season as one of the team's biggest question marks. Against LFO the linemen consistently won battles, and when they did Cobb let them hear about it.
"We've got a young line, a bunch of first-year starters that people were worried about," Cobb said. "I wanted to encourage them because they deserved it. They've worked so hard this summer, and now I wouldn't trade them for anyone."
Cobb, who rushed for 885 yards and six touchdowns last year while sharing time as the lead back, added five tackles at cornerback.
"He was very physical, and one of our coaches pointed out after watching film that after runs he was always laying on top of the defenders instead of the other way around," Wiggins said of the 6-foot, 180-pounder. "Zack's got good vision, good hands, and he's not afraid to go block someone. He's really a complete player."
One game into the season, both coach and captain want the same thing going forward. Too often a year ago the Trojans were their own worst enemy with untimely penalties and numerous turnovers. They lost their final five games and scored just 25 combined points as the offense continually self-destructed.
"Last year left a bad taste in our mouths," Cobb said. "We had a tendency to hurt ourselves and we didn't play with discipline, but we're not the same team this year. We're shooting for a region championship, but we have to stay humble. There's no reason we can't continue to play like we did last week."
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...