Athlete of the Week: Kenai quarterback Zeke Yragui leads Kardinals to state championship

Athlete of the Week: Kenai quarterback Zeke Yragui leads Kardinals to state championship
Published: Oct. 17, 2023 at 10:39 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The last time Kenai Central football hoisted a state championship, senior quarterback Zeke Yragui was just six years old.

On Saturday, he guided the Kardinals back to the top of the small school’s football landscape for the first time since 2011.

“I know this is going to sound corny as hell, but when he was a freshman, I knew in my mind he would be the one to lead us back here, and here he is, he did it, it was a premonition!” Kenai offensive coordinator Blake Taplin said in the postgame huddle.

Stepping up when the Kardinals needed him most, Yragui led Kenai to three touchdown drives in a 20-6 win over the Barrow Whalers, including tossing two scores. In his first year as the starting quarterback, he led the programs to more wins this season (eight) than they’ve seen in the last three years combined (seven), all while also playing safety on defense.

“Zeke is a great kid, I’ve been his teacher since he was in fifth grade, and he has always wanted to play football and be really good at it, and lucky for him he is,” Kenai coach Jake Brand said. “He is a very unselfish quarterback. He starts at safety on defense, so he really isn’t about me, it’s not about ‘I need so many passing yards or I need to be the star of the game.’ He’ll hand it off, he’ll run it himself, he’ll make tackles on defense, he’ll intercept the ball. He really just puts the team on his back. He’s about the most unselfish quarterback I have ever dealt with — playing football, coaching football, watching football.”

Yragui immediately credited his teammates after the biggest on-field accomplishment of his career.

”I love them all, I love the team, our defense is the greatest,” Yragui said. “[Our receivers], they’re always doing the right thing, they’re always helping me out, and Bobby is always amazing. It’s why he’s Player of the Year.”