By David Fong
TROY — Zach Boyer hopes that once he gets to college, the hits just keep on coming.
“I love hitting — it’s the best part of it,” said Boyer, a senior on the Troy football team who recently signed his national letter of intent to play college football at Ohio Dominican University. “I love filling the holes and gaps, coming down full speed and cleaning people.”
For the first three years of his high school career — Boyer was one of the rare players in Troy football history to start all four years on varsity — he was playing cornerback for the Trojans. While that position obviously still required him to make hits and tackle, it wasn’t until he made the move to free safety as a senior that he truly got to lay the lumber to opposing players.
It was at safety that Boyer took his already impressive game to another level, earning All-Southwest District and All-Greater Western Ohio Conference honors. It’s also where the Panthers see him fitting into their scheme at the next level.
“I’m glad I got the experience playing safety in high school before I went to college,” Boyer said. “It’s a lot different than playing corner. There’s a lot more responsibility.”
As a senior, Boyer was tied for the GWOC lead in interceptions with five. Three of those interceptions helped turn the tide in the favor of the Trojans. Against Xenia in Week 2, the first of his two interceptions led to Troy’s first touchdown, sparking a Trojan offense that had been shut out in the season opener.
Against Miamisburg, his interception and return prevented the Vikings from going up two scores early in the game, allowing the Trojans to win a 31-21 contest that may have been the turning point in their season. Against Tippecanoe, his pick led to a touchdown, again igniting a Trojan offense that had been shut out in the first half.
As impressive as Boyer was on the field, however, Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said it’s been Boyer’s growth as a leader that has truly made him a special player.
“Zach is a great natural athlete, but the biggest thing I’m impressed with has been the maturity he’s exhibited this season,” Burgbacher said. “Through football and school and everything else, the progression he’s made from the first time I met him in March of 2015 until now has been amazing. When we ask players to pick a word to focus on at the beginning of the season, unity is the word Zach came up with. That really struck me. He did become a vocal leader for us.
“I think he has the potential to be an outstanding player in college. He obviously has great versatility and the athleticism to play a number of different positions for them. Being able to play all four positions in the defensive backfield is going to get him on the field quicker.”
Boyer said he’s pleased all of the hard work he’s put in the past four years is paying off with the opportunity to play college football.
“It feels great,” he said. “It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. “I’ve worked very hard, putting in countless hours in the weightroom and long days in the film room. Now I just want to go over there and show what I can do.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong