PLAYER TO WATCH: Zirke uses past teachings to become Dutch Fork playmaker

PLAYER TO WATCH: Zirke uses past teachings to become Dutch Fork playmaker

IRMO, SC (WIS) - When you think about Dutch Fork football, Jalin Hyatt is a name that people have become familiar with.

However, there’s another name that’s starting to garner the attention of opposing defensive coordinators. That’s Gage Zirke. The Silver Foxes senior wide receiver and quarterback has been a major factor in the team’s overwhelming success on offense.

“Gage is fast. He can put his foot in the ground. He can make all the cuts. He makes all the catches," said Dutch Fork head coach Tom Knotts. "I think Ty’s real comfortable with him. Having Jalin on one side and Gage on the other, having them in tandem in twins is a powerful weapon for us. So, I’m real proud of Gage. He’s come a long way in his football life here.”

A North-South All-Star Game selection, Zirke leads the Silver Foxes with 65 catches for 1,271 yards. He is second on the team with 12 touchdown receptions. His skills on the field are a welcome sight to Dutch Fork quarterback Ty Olenchuk.

“Knowing that I can throw it in his area – not just a perfect throw but in his area and he’s going to make the play and get you yards after the catch is unbelievable that I can trust him like that," said Olenchuk.

Zirke says he watches a lot of Odell Beckham, but he credits some of the things he learned from two previous Silver Foxes who have gone on to play at the next level, which is the goal for him as well.

“I’ve been playing behind Bryce Thompson and Bobby Irby and I’ve learned from them ever since I came here in seventh grade," Zirke said. "So, being able to finally get the attention, I’ve been waiting for that.”

The Silver Foxes have won two straight Class 5-A state championships since the creation of the classification. With the third one in sight, Zirke desperately wants to win it for his class.

“Every year, we say the seniors won it that year," Zirke said. "We want it this year.”

Zirke and the Silver Foxes put their undefeated streak on the line this Friday when they travel to West Florence for the Jim Hudson Football Friday Game of the Week.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Get to know Gage Zirke

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved.