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Ingram doing an unusual double for Eastern GreenePosted Thursday, September 9, 2010, at 5:34 PM
Eastern Greene senior Zach Ingram (10) makes a moves against Linton-Stockton's Kent Helton from a football game earlier this year. Ingram starts at quarterback and defensive end for the Thunderbirds. (By B.J. Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
When he's not out throwing passes or running the offense for Luke Dean, Eastern Greene quarterback Zach Ingram is on the defensive side of things as a defensive end.
While to some this may not seem like that big of a deal, it really could be considered quite a feat -- especially when you consider that his numbers on both sides of the ball are very commendable.
As a quarterback he's completed 26 of 64 passes for 259 yards with four touchdowns and only two interceptions.
He's completing passes at nearly a 41 percent clip.
To make him that much more of a weapon on offense, Ingram is the second-leading rusher with 70 yards on 31 carries (which also happens to lead the team).
His best offensive performance to date came in the T-Birds second of the year at North Knox.
In that one, Ingram shook off the effects of an early deficit and guided his team back to within a touchdown of winning the game.
Despite the team dropping a 27-21 decision, the speedy Ingram -- who was reportedly clocked at 4.8 in the 40 yard dash during preseason practice -- provided the push they needed to nearly bounce completely back.
He carried the football a team-high 14 times for a team-high 61 yards while guiding the air attack of the Thunderbirds throwing for 222 yards and three touchdowns on 15 of 28 passes.
Ingram has shown a soilid ability to spread the wealth among his receivers as well.
In the game against the Warriors alone he threw to four different receivers no less than three times each.
The showcase of the evening came on Eastern Greene's final scoring drive of the night when Ingram engineered a 13-play, 50 yard march made all that more impressive after the first two pass attempts on the drive fell incomplete.
From there Ingram found Tanner Bailey on successive plays to move the ball down to the North Knox 33.
Then his notable speed helped him elude the Warrior defense with a short yardage pass to Michael Love mixed in.
Adding to the drama was a pair of penalties that moved the ball back to the NK 35, and a sack.
That left it up to Ingram to connect on a 13-yarder to Zach Johnson and a corner route to Miles Hutchison that ended the scoring drive.
North Knox coach Shawn McDowell was very complimentary after the game toward the ability of Ingram by noting that he was very difficult to game plan against.
McDowell was especially impressed by the quickness Ingram showed against his Warrior defenders.
"He's tough to bring down," McDowell said to the press afterwards. "It makes it that much tougher to stop them."
His sentiments were echoed by North Daviess head coach Scotty Ingram following the Cougars' 48-14 win over the T-Birds the next week.
In that one Ingram was 5 for 16 for 71 yards and a touchdown.
"Their quarterback Zach Ingram is a really good athlete. If we wouldn't have gotten after him, he could have really hurt us," Ingram said.
But on the defensive side of things is where Ingram really earns his letter (bet you thought I was going to say paycheck didn't you).
With the foundation of being a solid quarterback in front of him, his defensive skills are nearly overshadowed.
Those skills include a team-leading 2.5 sacks this season. And part of that is a stretch that includes registering either a solo or assisted sack in each game this year.
He recorded solo sacks against Linton-Stockton in the opener, then joined Tyler Lady in having a meeting at the quarterback in the North Knox game before following with another solo sack against North Daviess.
He's also collected at least two tackles in each game.
That total includes two solo and three assisted tackles against the Cougars as well as forcing a fumble against the Miners on opening night.
While to the casual fan, all of this might seem a bit like overkill. But to the interested and knowledgeable observer, this is far from overkill.
As things usually go on a gridiron quarterbacks generally translate to defensive backs on the other side of the ball.
Because of quickness, an ability to read the opposition and all of the skills that are natural for a quarterback, they usually fit the bill quite well as a defensive back.
In other cases they might become a linebacker depending on their size.
If they have a good acumen and are relatively athletic, they can make that transition a smooth one as well.
But as a defensive lineman, let alone a defensive end, it just usually isn't done.
A lot of times simply because coaches don't generally like to tempt the football gods with such things as knee, ankle or hip injuries to their quarterbacks.
Defensive linemen have a tendency to be banged around pretty well during a game, so most coaches would prefer not to expose their offensive leader to the inherent dangers.
That makes what Ingram does all the more special and all the more impressive.
Rick is a sports writer with the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 20. He can also be reached by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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