Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Burrell Quarterback Is a Two-Way Threat High School Football

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Burrell Quarterback Is a Two-Way Threat High School Football

Article excerpt

By the time he was 2-years-old, Zack Middleby was throwing a football in the backyard with his dad.

But he never played on any of the community youth league teams -- the under-7 team, the Plebes, or the under-9 Recruits, or the under- 11 Cadets or the under-13 Flyers.

Middleby, a resident of Upper Burrell, did not start playing organized football until the seventh grade with the Burrell Middle School team.

He always wanted to be a quarterback but he showed some excellent running ability early on and started his career in organized football as a running back to take advantage of his athleticism.

In eighth grade he moved to quarterback ... although he never stopped running.

Middleby, now a senior at Burrell, is in his second season as the starting quarterback for the Buccaneers.

Last season Middleby threw for 1,121 yards while rushing for 236 in an injury-shortened six-game season. In his first two games this season Middleby has already rushed for 163 yards.

Burrell knocked off rival Valley, 23-16, in the season's first week before losing to Century Conference contender Keystone Oaks, 52- 28, last Friday.

"Zack is an all-around quarterback," first-year coach Kevin Horwatt said. "He can drop back, roll out, he has matured. He is more mature each and every game we go into. He is really starting to understand the game. If he makes a mistake, he already knows what he did wrong. You don't have to correct him."

Against Keystone Oaks, the Buccaneers offense was fully prepared to get into a shootout. Burrell fell behind early, 13-0, but by halftime it was 19-14 after Middleby connected with running back Cole Bush on a 41-yard pass and then tossed a 9-yard touchdown to Jeremy Shybloski.

Middleby's aggressiveness backfired in the third quarter when one of his passes was intercepted by KO's Cody Alward and returned 52 yards for a score to make it 32-14, Keystone Oaks. …

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