Neither Doherty football coach Jeff Krumlauf nor Spartan running back Julian Cooks attempted to track the senior’s statistics during Friday’s season-opening win over Rangeview.
Any try likely would’ve ended up being a waste of brainpower. When the game concluded, the duo learned Cooks ran for 303 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know how many carries he had or how many yards he had or how many touchdowns he had until after the game,” Krumlauf said.
Cooks carried the Spartans to an 83-55 win and was chosen as this week’s Peak Performer.
Outside of a 63-yard rushing touchdown early in the game, Cooks said he picked up his yards in smaller bunches, averaging 12.1 yards per carry in the Spartans’ run-heavy scheme.
“We love to run power. We love to run counter and buck,” the coach said. “That sets everything else up that we have going on. It’s who we are.”
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Cooks has the build to work between the tackles. He’s also working on his ability to make opponents miss in the open field.
“Last year, I invited contact,” the running back said. “This year, I’m going to run more elusive, but you know if they happen to be in the way, I’m not going to avoid contact.”
That versatility has got the attention of college coaches. According to Krumlauf, a couple Division I programs and a bunch of Division II schools hope to have Cooks on their campus next fall. The coach considers the running back’s potential to be “untapped” and “unlimited.”
After finishing his junior season with 1,011 yards and 10 touchdowns, Cooks’ goals for his final prep season are of the team variety.
“Go to the playoffs with my team, that’s it,” Cooks said. “I just want to win.”
The Week 1 showing bolstered the back’s confidence. It likely got the attention of the Spartans’ opponent Friday, Cherry Creek, as well.
“Every week we know teams are going to say ‘Hey, we gotta stop No. 2,’ ” Krumlauf said. “We challenge them to do that. If they’re loading up the box, we’ve got weapons other places.”
No weapon in the area was more dangerous than Cooks in Week 1, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.
“I didn’t really sense anything,” Cooks said. “I was just out there doing my job.”