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Trib HS Insider Q&A: Apollo-Ridge's Jesse Zelonka

| Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Apollo-Ridge quarterback Jesse Zelonka (No. 10) runs through the Wilkinsburg defense at Owens Field in Apollo on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Bill Shirley | For the Valley News Dispatch
2012 Apollo Ridge quarterback Jesse Zelonka (No. 10). Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

If Jesse Zelonka had his way, Apollo-Ridge would go five wide every play, and the junior quarterback would sling it downfield like Houston's David Klinger in the early 1990s.

But the Vikings try to be balanced in their offense, employing Zelonka as a runner as well.

In the team's opener, he rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 100 yards. In Week 2, he went back to the pass. Against Wilkinsburg, he unleashed for 266 yards passing and four touchdowns.

For the season, Zelonka has rushed for 181 yards on 40 carries and four TDs for the Vikings (1-2, 1-1). Passing, he's 21 of 58 for 450 yards and seven touchdowns.

Q: You and wide receiver Tre Tipton appear to have found that quarterback-receiver chemistry.

A: Yes. He is the receiver I look for most. He's our main athlete. You can tell we've been tight all along.

Q:What's been your highlight of the season so far?

A: On the opening play against Wilkinsburg. My throw to Alex Smith for a 73-yard touchdown.

Q: You had a knee injury that ended your baseball season last year. Are you done with that sport?

A: Yes. I am going to do track and field. Probably throwing the javelin and running the 100 and four-by-one (relay).

Q:Both of your brothers played at Apollo-Ridge and are now coaching. What have they meant to you?

A: Without them, I couldn't do it. They help me with everything. Last week, Josh told me, as far as expectations go, ‘Go in low and come out high.' That kind of took some pressure off.

Q:Are you into movies or music?

A: Music doesn't inspire me. I play XBox. Mostly NCAA Football and Call of Duty.

Q:So, you like to make jokes in the huddle?

A: I'm the laid-back, funny guy. As the leader at QB, I like to loosen the guys up. Our seniors were too serious last year. During my cadence against Wilkinsburg — we were up three or four TDs — I turned to my right guard Matt Thomas and said, ‘I love you man.' The linebacker was mocking us a little.

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