- When we think high school football, we usually think of Friday night lights. But one local athlete lit up the scoreboard under the hot sun last Saturday.
"He knows what to look for, I trust him to make good decisions, and when you trust a guy to make good decisions, you let him play football," said Merrill Head Football Coach Nick Sturm.
Sturm took that exact approach on Saturday and why not? Blue Jays quarterback Zach Mootz threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more in a 44-6 rout of Lakeland.
"I want to establish the run, but if they're going to put nine, ten in the box we're throwing down the field, and we did that effectively on Saturday," said Sturm.
Mootz called Merrill's big win over Lakeland a statement win, saying the loss to Ashland a week and a half ago was nothing more than just a fluke.
"Getting that big win was making a statement to the rest of the teams in the conference," said Mootz. "We have to keep winning after that, we've got Rhinelander, need to take care of business then and then we'll take care of business at the end of the season too with Antigo."
Mootz racked up more than 250 total yards to go along with his six scores in the bounce back win over the T-Birds. He says getting back on their home turf helped the Blue Jays get back on track.
"Against Ashland, going on the road is tough, but we have a great crowd here, great support and playing on our home turf is really a huge advantage for us," said Mootz.
Even though he's a senior, it's just the second year at QB for Mootz. That's part of why Sturm thinks his quarterback will get even better.
"I expect him to continue to improve, because that's the type of kid he is. He recognizes he needs to get better at this and this and this," said Sturm.
Now that the Blue Jays are hitting their stride, Mootz says they need to keep it that way.
"We have to hold ourselves accountable to that performance now and we know we can play that level of football and we've got to hold that out for the rest of the year," said Mootz.
The Blue Jays are currently 2-1 in the Great Northern Conference. They'll look for win number three on the road this Friday against the winless Rhinelander Hodags.