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Zaubi among state's best seniors at all-star game

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By Sam Draut

South Oldham’s Drew Zaubi was selected to the annual Best of the Bluegrass all-star football game earlier this month. The senior quarterback completed seven passes for 93 yards and the Louisville area team to its only scoring drive against the Kentucky team.

Zaubi leaves behind quite a legacy at South Oldham. As a three-year starter, he was part of the winningest senior class in school history that went undefeated in district play over the past three seasons.

In his three seasons, Zaubi passed for 4,699 yards and 65 touchdowns while rushing for 1,134 yards and 22 scores.

 

SD: Was it enjoyable to be around other prolific players in the all-star game atmosphere?

DZ: It was fun to see the guys because I see a lot of them on Twitter saying, ‘here is an offer from a school.’ You go in respecting them. I worked out with a few of them at Aspirations Gym, so for them, it’s like ‘what’s up, when are we going to work out again?’ Seeing some other guys I played 7-on-7 with, the relationships part of it, it was so much fun. These are your friends and it is the last game that you are going to have together. You have never really been on the same team in pads with these guys, so it was basically, ‘let’s take this experience for what it is and have fun with it.’

 

SD: Did you learn anything or share something with your teammates?

DZ: We talk about where are you thinking of going to college and what’s going on. Frank Bently goes to Butler, I played 7-on-7 with him and he just committed Indianapolis. We had a few colleges that came to practices and the game. Mount St. Joe and Hanover, basically your regular cast that come out to the Louisville schools. You help guys weigh out their options, ‘if I was in your position this is what I would do.’ That’s what the conversations were like.

 

SD: How tough is it to prepare with only five days of practice and then going to play a game?

DZ: It is so difficult because you have to build fast. You’re asking someone to essentially build 10 weeks worth of chemistry in five days. That is just not going to happen. We learned the offense in 30 minutes. It was such a cool offense. All the protections were man-based, so you would just call out the front. You gave the receivers hand signals for whatever route you wanted them to run. Our standard formation was a spread formation. So if we were running an inside zone, but you saw that the slot receiver had nobody on him, you could check for him to run a hitch and call ‘hut’ and just throw it. You didn’t have to run the play, so you had free reins to do whatever you wanted, which was pretty cool. Then you had your standard plays. The receivers, whenever the receivers would look back to the sidelines and give them a hand signals, ‘Oh I have that, okay.’ It was a simple offense and really fun to run. Getting the protection and timing down with everyone was difficult. We still got it down for the most part.

 

SD: What took longer, protection or timing with receivers?

DZ: There were certain times that you call a protection for a six-on-six, sometimes when your running back is going out for a route, it’s six-on-five, so there is somebody free coming, so there were a few times JR [Lucas] and I would tell our running backs stay in and block. ‘Okay, I got you’ they’d say and then they would run their route anyways. The protections were pretty simple. Against a particular front, you have this man. There were a few times, whenever the defense does a stunt or they bring an extra guy on the blitz and you can’t find your hot route fast enough.”

 

SD: If a coach asked how you have improved as a quarterback over the past year, what would you say?

DZ: I have become better at recognizing tendencies in defenses. Through watching film, for some schools the safeties were staggered, whichever one was lower, they were coming down for run support, the next guy is running up to play middle of the field. Anything based on alignment and the tendencies. With Doss, they love to blitz, so if their linebacker creeps up, whatever hole he is creeping up toward, that is where he is coming. For Shelby County, whenever they are lined up a certain way, the defensive end is going to shoot out and the linebacker is going to come inside of him and blitz. Recognizing tendencies and knowing how to adjust from that. I’d watch film and think ‘all right, I think I have this down’ but then Coach Reed would say ‘Don’t worry about it, this is what they are going to do.’ Coach Reed is such a smart coach, he knows what he is talking about, just look for this and you’ll be good. And so I’d start to catch it on my own.

 

SD: So you’re a smarter quarterback compared to your sophomore and junior seasons?

DZ: Yes. It showed for me in the Highlands game when they would come out in a front. I’d check to a different run play. That first drive, there was one call that we had a trap play to the right. They were giving us trap to the left, so we audibled it to the left and Keaton Martin breaks a 20 yard run. It was pretty cool to see film study come into affect.

 

SD: Is it an advantage for you to have played in various offenses?

DZ: I am definitely well versed in different schematics. Coming from Trinity where you are a spread team with roll outs or quick gain, quick hits, stretch plays, some inside zone, and jets, you come from that to a wing-t triple option scheme. I still remember one of the plays we had called. It was a number play. At Trinity it was completely different play. I get up to the line and I am looking at the safeties, and then ‘wait, it is just a run play.’ I don’t even need to do that. I need to look at the front because the play was designed for if you have a wide open b-gap, that is where the play is designed to go.

 

SD:Did you make the right decision transferring to South Oldham from Trinity after your freshman year?

DZ: I think I did. I wanted to get on the field and show what I was capable of. Coming back to my home school and be a three-year starter and taking part in the team success that we had. Our class is the winningest class to come through South Oldham. We ripped off three straight 10-plus win seasons, that’s great. We had a 10 game winning streak this year. The team goals to be a part of that, it was awesome.

 

SD: When you came back to South Oldham and what has resulted since, was that a best case scenario in your mind?

DZ: I remember coming back sophomore year the team was projected to go 2-8 and we finished 10-3. That was a magical season. The key to that was Starr Thompson. He wanted it, and then Logan Ashkettle, he really wanted it. Trey Mills, he wanted it. David Hayden wanted it. All these guys said ‘forget this 2-8 thing, we are going to show them we are a lot better than that.’ That’s the mentality we brought into the next year. ‘Hey we went 10-3, let’s be even better.’ Guys like Graham Ashkettle, Keanan John, Jared Cotton, Darren Weathers, they started pushing us in that direction. This year, when I got to be a senior, with Tanner Goodlett, JaMartez Beaudoin and Drake Silcox, we had a chance to be the winningest class in South Oldham history. The year before that, the 2017 class was the winningest. We said ‘Let’s leave our mark on South Oldham.’ It all coming together like that was so cool to see.”

 

SD: Do you have a favorite year?

DZ: Junior year. Ripping off 12 wins, getting to Pulaski County and being a touchdown away from going to Bowling Green playing in the state championship. That is what drove us this year. That Covington Catholic team was so good.

 

SD: What’s next for you?

DZ: I’m waiting to see what happens after the early signing period. It’s so new to everyone this year. ‘Let’s hurry up and get our guys.’ They are rushing everything. There are still some D-I FBS schools that don’t have a quarterback commit, I have been emailing them. Coach Reed has been calling them. Coach Reed has done a great job trying to call colleges on my behalf to just give me a shot. I am forever thankful for that.