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Middle linebacker won Metro League Defensive Player of the Year for the Crusaders

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit linebacker Zach Carr had an interception and a handful of tackles in the Les Schwab Bowl.

Once the jokes about Jesuit's ritzy charter buses and funded private school education subsided, it was clear to every player on the Les Schwab Bowl's North team that linebacker Zach Carr was all about business.

From the throwback neck roll protruding out his shoulder pads to the war-like eye black streaming down his face, Carr approached the all-star game's practice sessions the same way he went to battle with the Crusaders. He took every repetition seriously, soaked up the North's playbook and assumed a leadership role early on within the team. Playing in a foreign defense with unfamiliar teammates, Carr devoured the North defensive scheme and was soon instructing his comrades of where to be and what to do in a game where nothing but pride hung in the balance.

For rivals such as Sunset's Marve Nyembo, who admittedly came in skeptical of Jesuit in general, it was a glance into the Metro League Defensive Player's DNA, what makes the middle linebacker tick. Carr wanted to make new friends and did so quickly, assimilating himself amongst the group as Jesuit's lone representative at the LSB festivities. But he also wanted to win. Forget rivalries and foes, when there's a scoreboard involved, Carr wanted to ensure the North defense — headlined by a handful of Metro League standouts — was locked in and ready to go. And though the game's outcome swung the South's way, Carr was expectedly productive, picking off a pass in the end zone while making three tackles in a 33-28 defeat.

"(Carr) was Metro Defensive Player of the Year for a reason," Nyembo said. "He's a leader. We had him at (middle) linebacker and he was all over the place, doing things the defense needed. I could see why Jesuit relied on him so heavily."

Carr quipped that his North teammates "expected him to be smart" because of Jesuit diploma. That high football intellect paid off when the linebacker realized the South fullback, who he was responsible for, exited the backfield and made a beeline toward the end zone in the third quarter. Instead of blitzing as originally intended, Carr stayed stride for stride with the threat and picked off the South's pass to stall a drive that had marched inside the 10-yard line.

Carr was a three-year varsity letterman at Jesuit. For his outstanding senior season as a linebacker, Zach was named Metro DPOY, first team all-conference and first team all-state. His personal success, Carr said, was a credit to defensive coordinator Jason Cammmann and the Crusader coaching staff.

"Each defense is different with little tweaks," Carr said. "Learning those tweaks quickly, learning the playbook fast, knowing what you're supposed to do, being a leader...they put me in a position to make plays. It all comes down to coaching."

Carr anchored a Crusader defense that allowed just 12 points per game in Metro action and was loaded with stars such as Andy Alfieri, Joe Quillin and Logan Horton. Jesuit arguably boasted the best front-seven in the state, one that played together for multiple seasons and used that chemistry to react on the field, rather than get weighed down by overthinking.

"We put (plays) in so fast and played so fast and physically," Carr said. "I was blessed to be out there with them. All three years (on the varsity level), I had great guys around me all of the time and that really helped with my success."

Carr committed to the University of San Diego in February. The Dons were the first Division One program to offer Carr. He'll join Jesuit wide receiver Josh Daul and former teammate Joel Daul, Josh's older brother, in sunny Southern California and continue his football career at the next level. Joel Daul will be a redshirt sophomore at USD.

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit linebacker Zach Carr was the Metro League Defensive Player of the Year for the Crusaders.

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