Andrew Zimmerman

Chesterton's Andrew Zimmerman has stopped the revolving door at the quarterback position.

Damian Rico, file, The Times

Game manager.

It's often a thinly veiled compliment given to a quarterback who neither throws nor runs well enough to be identified for those traits.

Chesterton senior Andrew Zimmerman doesn't mind, just as long as you also call him starter.

"Honestly, I embrace the nickname. I don't find it as an insult," he said. "If we’re scoring points and getting a win, I have no problem managing the game."

The QB position was a mess for the Trojans last season. Zimmerman was among five players who saw snaps.

"A lack of success takes away from your confidence," coach Mark Peterson said. "It was like one step forward, two steps back. It was as frustrating to Andrew as it was to the team and the coaching staff. We had inconsistency at the position the entire year and it became problematic. Some things resonated in his mind. He moved beyond those and continued to develop into the player he is."

Three of the other four are gone and with Corey Boren valuable in other spots, Zimmerman knew it was his job to lose or, looking at the glass half full, to win.

"Last year, I felt more timid in certain situations, which led to the revolving door at the quarterback position," Zimmerman said. "In the offseason, I knew had to be the No. 1 guy, so I put in all the work. I had to really find the confidence to have a 'QB 1' mentality. I was reading how Tom Brady's afraid to give up reps in practice. I sort of embraced that. You get the exposure, you start clicking more."

Now 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Zimmerman put in the weight room time to increase his durability for the triple option offense where the quarterback gets hit frequently. He refined his throwing with private coach Bill Reagan. He also did plenty of film study with different position coaches to gain a stronger grasp of the whole scheme.

"He's matured, physically and mentally," Peterson said. "With strength comes confidence. His confidence was shaken last year. He's more confident in his decisions. He has a greater understanding of the adjustments that have to be made. What he doesn't have in speed he makes up for in field awareness. He's taken ownership of that leadership role."

And with it comes more a longer leash.

"Coach Peterson gives me the flexibility to change plays," Zimmerman said. "He tells me, if he messes up a call, to make him look good. I do feel confident I will make smarter reads. Last year, I wasn't confident, having the fear of messing up. If I mess up, I'm going to do it giving 100 percent."

Ultimately pigeonholed as the "designated thrower" last season, there wasn't much doubt what Zimmerman was going to do when he came in a game. It wasn't a formula for success.

"Honestly, my forte is more on the throwing side. I embrace that. I might have a little gunslinger in me," he said. "Last year, I didn't throw as smart as I should have. I feel this year, if I'm called to do that, I'm more confident making smart throws. I definitely feel we have deception back there. Louie (Razo's) been the speed guy. Anthony (Frencl) and Ryan (Klespies) are the bruisers. I like to think we still have a bunch of surprises up our sleeve."

Not that you'll ever see the Trojans line up in a five-wide set. They threw twice versus Hobart and weren't doing much more against Munster before Zimmerman cut it loose in a two-minute drill, completing four passes for 72 yards.

"We need to be able to do that," Peterson said. "We've got a wonderful group up front and Andrew's developed the confidence to stand in the pocket. He's not going to break the 15-, 20-yarders (running), but if he can consistently give us four, six, 10 (yards), it keeps us on track. It gives us a multi-faceted attack."

A center in Pop Warner before getting the chance to move to signal caller in sixth grade, Zimmerman had the little kid's dream of being a quarterback, playing in the back yard with sophomore brother Zach. Now that it's a reality, the movie buff and writing enthusiast hopes to pen a winning script to his senior season.

"There were definitely a few points last year when I was mentally down, not being able to go out and help the team win," he said. "Right now, I'm feeling good, but I can't let up. It's definitely my goal to help the team get a DAC championship and hopefully more after that."


Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.