Through the nature of high school football, occasionally star quarterbacks ride the bench until their senior years.
Dixie’s senior quarterback, Zak Harrah, is one of those players. He played at wide receiver on the state championship team, but in his senior year he’s the man in the shotgun formation leading the Flyers on the road back to Rice-Eccles Stadium.
It’s not enough to call Harrah a serviceable quarterback, either. At 243 passing yards per game, 18 touchdowns and one interception, Harrah elevated himself to superstar status. Add a marquee win against rival Desert Hills, too. Through six games, Harrah is having one of those special seasons that’s talked about in St. George for years to come.
“He works hard and he’s good and steady,” Dixie head coach Andy Stokes said. “It’s interesting because he’s never played before, but whether he gets hit or we have a bad drive he brushes it off like it’s nothing.”
Harrah is the coolest cat on the team, too. At practice Monday night, Harrah’s Flyer teammates blurted out several words to describe their star quarterback, like “ecstatic” or “dangerous” or even “lady killer.” However, Harrah wants to be remembered as a successful player who cared about his teammates.
“We’re brothers around here,” Harrah said. “The coaches are our family, and that’s what I love about this school.”
Stokes said Harrah goes above and beyond in his support for Flyer football, attending JV and freshman games and practices to cheer on the future stars of the program.
“He’s a good leader,” Stokes said. “The kids like him, and he’s at everything. He makes sure he supports everyone.”
He knows his teammates well, too. When asked which Flyer had the worst music selection on his iPod, Harrah said, “Malachi Fakahua.”
Harrah loves talking about all the offensive weapons he has, such as Bret Barben, Jaden Harrison, Hobbs Nyberg and Tre Miller. Harrah’s face lit up when he had the chance to talk about his teammates and give them props.
“I love it,” Harrah said. “When the defense takes away Tre it opens up the passing game, and when they take away the pass then Tre makes plays. They have to pick and choose what they want to defend.”
But where does Harrah get his Joe Montana swagger? Well, he openly admits that Johnny Manziel is his favorite player, and the Dallas Cowboys are his favorite team. Though, those probably have nothing to do with his immaculate touchdown-to-interception ratio.
“He makes really good decisions,” Stokes said. “Even the one interception he threw wasn’t really his fault. He got hit and the ball kind of fluttered. But if he makes a mistake, he owns it. He’s got great accountability and says ‘We’ll get it fixed.'”
Harrah said he’s able to apply lessons from the state title run last year into what he’s doing this year. He referenced the come-from-behind win against the Stansbury Stallions in the 3AA State Quarterfinals as an example.
“We learned about adversity and how to get through it,” Harrah said. “You’re not always going to have your best game so you always have to be ready to beat teams on your worst day.”
Harrah showed that against the Desert Hills Thunder, whose defense gave the quarterback fits early on. Still, the senior Harrah finished the game with 225 yards on 9 of 15 passing with two touchdowns and one interception.
He’s been nominated for The Spectrum & Daily News Student Athlete of the Week twice and hasn’t won yet. It might be time for Southern Utah to take notice.