COLLEGE AND PRO
VYPE Back Issues
VYPE NATIONAL PAGE
Zionsville's Dunshee, Naumcheff on the Same Wavelength
August 16, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
By George Piper
For VYPE Magazine (Central Indiana)
Going to different middle schools in Zionsville, Parker Dunshee and John Naumcheff always found themselves on opposite gridiron teams.
The pair is now on the same squad – maybe even the same brainwaves, with their junior seasons serving as evidence. In 2011, the pair hooked up 61 times – 11 for touchdowns – and cemented themselves among the best quarterback/receiver duos in Zionsville Eagles history.
“I think it all starts with having a good off-field relationship, being able to trust each other and know what each of us can do to help the offense,” Naumcheff said.
Naumcheff already brought the eraser to the record books, setting the Eagles’ single-season mark for catches and tying a school record with an eye-popping 215 yards receiving against Westfield.
Dunshee is also on pace to rewrite some history, standing just five passing touchdowns away from Zionsville’s all-time mark.
Veteran coach Larry McWhorter likes what he’s seen so far in the preseason from his two offensive stars.
“We will be able to pass (the ball). That’s for sure,” said McWhorter, who is in his 17th year as Eagles head coach.
An Indiana Football Coaches Association Junior All-State and All-Hoosier Crossroads Conference selection, Naumcheff runs textbook perfect routes paired with great hands – hence the 61 catches for 859 yards.
Knowing his No. 1 receiver will usually be at the right spot where the ball is delivered is a great relief for Dunshee, who enters his third season as Zionsville’s quarterback. He has grown into a patient leader with the ball, making good decisions that led to a 2011 campaign of 119 completions, 1,333 yards and 16 TDs compared to only six interceptions.
“We know each other’s tendencies,” Dunshee said of Naumcheff. “I know the speed he runs his routes; he knows where I can put the ball. It’s a good combination.”
While Naumcheff will draw his share of defensive back coverage, he’s not the only receiver at Dunshee’s disposal. Fellow senior Carson Kennedy had 13 catches and three touchdowns last year, and McWhorter said Naumcheff has been working with the younger receivers during preseason drills.
“Everybody’s going to be keying in on us, and we’re going to have to rely on a bunch of other guys to pull us through,” Naumcheff said.
Even with a talented QB and a top receiver, the Eagles offense figures to key off their ground game. Running back will be a committee effort for McWhorter’s squad. Senior fullback Steve Wisnewski will lead a group of backs that also could include senior linebacker Scott Penola, who led the team in rushes as a sophomore before switching to defense his junior campaign.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had a two-way player here,” McWhorter said.
Zionsville’s big unknown is on the defensive side, with many of the starters and key players lost to graduation. Penola is the most-experienced defender, followed by safety Jackson Schafer, while most of the others are getting their first extensive playing time. If his talented, but untested defense can play consistently – an issue that plagued last year’s team – McWhorter believes good things will occur this season.
Zionsville is looking for its first sectional title since 2008, and its first in Class 5A. McWhorter has been at the helm for five of the school’s 11 football sectional titles, and took the team to state twice, winning it all his first year in 1996.
For Dunshee and Naumcheff, the post-season has been tough, losing in the opening round in their first two varsity seasons. They’ve seen the trophies earned by past Zionsville squads, and they would love nothing more than to earn some hardware in the postseason.
A title in the always tough Hoosier Crossroads Conference wouldn’t be bad, either. The 10-team conference means every regular season game is a conference matchup, one of which is the Eagles’ Sept. 7 showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium vs. 2011 HCC champion Hamilton Southeastern.