Magical Ride Almost at End For Amedro
WEST LIBERTY – Time flies when your winning games, making a mockery of record books and measuring your totals in miles instead of yards. But West Liberty quarterback Zach Amedro, thankfully for those who have to draw up schemes to defense his powerful offense, has played his final game at Russek Field.
Though two games remain, it’s time for Coach Roger Waialae to start contemplating life without his four-year starter.
”Four years that he electrified the crowd here,” Waialae said after last week’s victory against Charleston. ”Every game he comes out and puts on a show.
”He does things for the offense that I don’t know if we’ll find another quarterback that can.”
For Amedro, it’s been a storybook ride. A transfer from Appalachian State, the John Marshall product just wanted to find a place he felt at home. Well, 13,852 yards later – less than 500 from the all-time Division-II mark of 14,350 yards held by Jimmy Terwilliger of East Stroudsburg – the Hilltop will also be Amedro’s.
”I had no clue what to expect when I came up here as a freshman, but it’s been great for me,” Amedro said. ”It’s been a great career for me, and I think it’s the best decision I could have made.
”I like the coaches; they’ve done so much for me. These have just been four great years.
”It’s going to be tough when it’s over.”
Despite the fact the Hilltoppers, who came into the season with high expectations including the highest ranking in school history, will not be going back to the playoffs for a second consecutive season, there’s still plenty out there left to attain.
”We’ve had some tough losses this season, especially against Shepherd, so we just wanted to finish out against Charleston, Seton Hill and Concord,” Amedro said.
”We’re undefeated against them, so we want to finish out our senior year by going undefeated against them. That’s what we’re aiming for, to win out.”
Amedro is known for his strong right arm, but overlooked in all the gaudy statistics is his ability to move the pocket and keep plays alive. He may not be thinking run, but the defense has to assume that he is.
”That’s the big thing – he reads the pocket, but he steps up with the idea to throw the football, and that’s almost harder to defend than if he stepped up to run it,” Waialae said. ”When he’s stepped up, his eyes and head are on a swivel and he knows where guys are going to be.”
A True Leader
What Amedro has been to the offense, linebacker Clay Beeler is to the West Liberty defense. As hard-nosed as they come, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound native of Chillicothe, Ohio, Beeler suffered what at first looked to be a devastating knee injury at midseason, but thanks to hard work and determination, made it back a short time later.
”That’s a guy that loves to play football – he’d play football the rest of his life if he could.” Waialae said. ”That’s the type of passion that feeds off to the other guys.
”My big thing with leaders is they make other people better, or they impose their will on the other people on the team, and other people follow them. That’s the type of person he is and the character he brings.
”I mean, busting his butt in the training room three times a day just to get healthy enough to play.”
Beeler burst onto the scene as a sophomore, when he was second team All-WVIAC after being second in the conference in tackles with 111, and the league leader for tackles for loss with 20. That performance also earned him ”Don Hansen Football Gazette” Linebacker of the Year and a spot on the Daktronics All-Atlantic Region Team.
No Two Man Show
It was nice to see just about all of the 21 seniors on the West Liberty squad make some significant impact in last Saturday’s victory. From Willie Walker’s two touchdown catches, to Kevon Calhoun gaining more than 100 yards of total offense, to Mike Buffo seemingly making every tackle and intercepting a pass on the goal line, right down to Ryan Travis scoring two more TDs, it was a Senior Day to remember.
But as much as the onfield prowess is reported, what happens off it matters most to Waialae.
”I said (Saturday) morning, my proudest day is when I turn on the TV and watch commencement, and watch all these guys walk across and grab their diplomas,” he said. ”From the day they all committed to come here, we were a better program.
”They’re good kids and that’s the most important thing. By next December, all 21 will have the opportunity to graduate, and that’s one of the things that gets overlooked in this program.”
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net