Two years ago, Blake Levy threw for 24 touchdowns and more than 2,200 yards as a sophomore, and Jaedin Miller put up eight touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards of total offense as a freshman for Trinity Lutheran.
The next spring, Trinity dropped its football program, and Levy and Miller headed for new schools. Levy is now the starting quarterback at Zionsville, and Miller is one of the starting running backs at Columbus East.
Friday night, the two close friends will be on opposite sides when the Class 5A No. 4 Olympians (11-1) visit the Eagles (6-5) with a Class 5A regional championship on the line.
Levy, the son of former Trinity coach Anthony Levy, is one of two quarterbacks that Zionsville coach Pat Echeverria regularly uses. Levy, a senior, has thrown for more than 2,000 yards, and junior Andrew Broecker has thrown for more than 800.
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“Blake can sling it around,” Echeverria said. “He’s a good athlete. We have two quarterbacks who we both feel have a strong role. They have different strengths and different weaknesses, and it’s been pretty successful for us. They’ve both done a good job for us.”
Levy, who went to St. Peter’s Lutheran School his eighth-grade year before spending two years at Trinity, plans to visit Purdue on Saturday. He also has a visit to Indiana University lined up for Nov. 29.
Zionsville’s Brandon Mikesell has more than 1,100 yards rushing. The Eagles have six players with at least 20 catches.
“Their offense doesn’t change (based on which quarterback is playing),” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “They do a lot of different things. They can run it. They can pass it. I don’t think we can focus in on just one guy because they do so many things.”
Defensively, Zionsville plays a 3-3 stack. The Eagles are quick and aggressive and give unique look, sand Gaddis expects them to twist and stunt. He said they are a little bit similar defensively to New Palestine.
Zionsville is allowing 37.2 points a game, although its three best defensive scoring games have come in its past three games — all wins.
“Probably the last two of three games of the regular season, our defense has been coming on,” Echeverria said. “Our offense has been able to put points on the board, and they’ve been a lot cleaner as far as not turning the ball over.”
The Eagles went 4-5 in the regular season. They started off 3-1 before dropping four in a row and winning their final regular-season game.
Zionsville won all three of its non-conference contests. But it went 1-5 in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference to finish sixth out of seven teams.
“They play in a really good league,” Gaddis said. “All we can do is take a look at the game tapes that we have and try to prepare against them.”
East quarterback Josh Major has thrown for 1,093 yards and nine touchdowns and run for 896 yards and 16 scores. Jamon Hogan has rushed for 1,725 yards and 32 touchdowns, and Miller has added 676 yards and 11 scores.
Caleb Voelker leads the Olympians with 23 catches for 508 yards and four touchdowns. Cam Wilson has added 18 receptions for 474 yards and three scores.
“When I watched film on them, I couldn’t see anybody else because their offensive line took up the whole screen,” Echeverria said. “They’re as big and physical as anybody we’ve seen all year long. Their quarterback and two backs can run the ball, and that center (Harry Crider) is a special player. They just do a great job up front, and they probably haven’t needed to throw the ball a whole lot, but they have a couple of good players on the outside.”
Echeverria called East’s defense very sound, big and athletic.
“The big kid (Crider) of takes care of the middle and lets the other kids run around and make plays,” Echeverria said.
The Olympians have won 10 in a row since a Week 2 loss at Columbus North. East went undefeated in the Hoosier Hills Conference, then knocked off 5A No. 2 New Palestine, Martinsville and Whiteland to win its sectional.
Now, Zionsville presents a new challenge.
“To win in November is tough,” Gaddis said. “You have to keep getting better as the season goes, or you’re going to get eliminated. It’s really a long season for a lot of the guys involved, and we’re lucky that the kids come out and work hard every night. They do a great job preparing, and we feel like we’re playing our best football.”
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What: Columbus East at Zionsville football in regional
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Zionsville High School, 1000 Mulberry St., Zionsville
Advancement: The winner moves on to next week’s semistate. If East wins Friday, it would either host Castle or visit Bloomington South