Former Black Hills coach Jack Zilla rejoins Class 2A football ranks

Former Black Hills coach Jack Zilla, who also spent time at Rochester, will oversee River Ridge’s offense

mwochnick@theolympian.comApril 18, 2014 

Black Hills head coach Jack Zilla, here directing senior quarterback Miles Smiley, returns for his 15th season with the Wolves. He is shown during football practice at Black Hills High School in Tumwater on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. (TONY OVERMAN/Staff photographer)

TONY OVERMAN — The Olympian Buy Photo

Jack Zilla is back coaching football at a Class 2A school.

Not as a head coach — the position Zilla held at Black Hills for 15 seasons (1998-2012) — but as an assistant. Zilla will join coach Steve Schultz’s staff at River Ridge High School, where he’ll be the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Zilla spent last season as the running backs coach at 1A Rochester.

“I’m pleased to go there and join (Schultz’s) staff,” Zilla said. “It’s a great opportunity to go to a local school and coach at River Ridge with great coaches and great kids. I’m excited about it.”

When asked about his offense, Zilla was quick on his answer.

“Whatever formation you’re in,” Zilla said, “you have to run the ball. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl because they could run the ball.”

Zilla’s Black Hills teams were known to run a shotgun offense. He said he plans to install a multiple-set offense at River Ridge.

At Black Hills, he led the Wolves to five state playoff appearances, including in 2009, when running back Cody Peterson rushed for a school-record 2,138 yards as a senior.

Last season, River Ridge went 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the 2A Evergreen Conference. The Hawks join the 2A South Puget Sound League this fall.


Timberline High School baseball coach Matt Acker announced he has joined the ownership group of the Kitsap BlueJackets, a collegiate summer wood-bat team based in Bremerton. Acker said he will be in charge of the club’s operational decisions.

The BlueJackets are one of 12 teams in the West Coast League, which features some of the country’s top college baseball players. Acker was the BlueJackets’ head coach from 2005 to 2011.

“I care about the owners of the BlueJackets and what they’re trying to do and what they’ve created,” said Acker, who also is president of the Puget Sound Collegiate League, a local summer wood-bat league. “They’ve supported me and started the league (PSCL), and I feel an obligation to help them.

“It makes me feel proud as somebody who runs a business and works with all these guys. They stay around. They don’t have turnover.”


A handful of South Sound football players recently made verbal commitments to college programs.

Timberline lineman Cole Stevens has committed to the University of Redlands in California. He’ll be reunited with former Timberline quarterback Kevin Russell, who guided Redlands to the NCAA Division III playoffs last fall.

Black Hills lineman Sam Zvirzdys and kicker Luke Taylor have committed to play at NAIA College of Idaho.


Yelm will host its annual Mountain Invitational track and field meet starting at 3:30 p.m. Friday. North Thurston, Timberline, Olympia, Tumwater, Shelton and Yelm are among the 16 teams scheduled to participate.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 southsoundsports @megwochnick

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