Three games into the season and East Ridge quarterback Zach Zebrowski already has defensive coordinators at their wits' end.
One of the metro area's top passers, Zebrowski mixed in some key runs in the Raptors' 43-28 victory against previously undefeated White Bear Lake. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score Friday on the Raptors' home turf in Woodbury.
"Our defensive coordinator was upset, but I said, 'He's done that to everyone,' " Bears coach Ryan Bartlett said. "You take away the pass and they've got the quarterback draw. And you can do everything right and he scrambles and hits a receiver over the top."
White Bear Lake's game plan started with taking away the pass. Zebrowski, whose father, Jim, is a former Gophers quarterbacks coach, started the game 11-for-12 anyway.
And when he ran, Zebrowski picked up yardage and propelled drives that the Bears were powerless to stop. He produced more than 200 yards in the first half, throwing for an unofficial 161 yards and two touchdowns and adding another 60 yards with his legs.
"He's just smart," East Ridge coach Dan Fritze said. "I trust him with everything on the field that we do. He makes plays with his brain and his feet and his arm as well."
First-quarter touchdown passes showcased Zebrowski's arm. He fired to Cameron Ashford in the end zone from 28 yards out. On the next scoring drive he put great touch on a 6-yard pass to Alex Larson in the back corner of the end zone. East Ridge (2-1) led 15-0.
White Bear Lake (2-1) cut its deficit to 15-7 in the second quarter as Cooper Anderson and Kevin Boeing connected for a 25-yard touchdown reception.
But White Bear Lake didn't make enough plays. East Ridge, meanwhile, got three rushing touchdowns from Kendall Moore. And the defense stopped short Bears runs twice on fourth down in the first half.
"We could have done more in the first half," Bartlett said.
Imperfections were on Fritze's mind as well.
An East Ridge drive late in the first half ended with an interception. Zebrowski's pass bounced off his receiver's hands on fourth down and into the arms of the Bears' Spencer Oxton.
In the third quarter, White Bear Lake's defense forced and recovered a fumble at its 3. Then Anderson drove the Bears for a touchdown, a 31-yard pass to Dominic Smith. White Bear Lake trailed 29-14.
"We don't want to let teams back in the game," Fritze said. "We need to finish."