In Zane Zebrasky’s mind, his football career was over the moment he pulled off his West Virginia Wesleyan College uniform after the last game of this past season.
And in some ways, that was a good thing because the rollercoaster, and sometimes mind-numbing, ride that was his career was over.
After working with three head coaches and six offensive coordinators during his time at West Virginia Wesleyan, the chaos had ended for Zebrasky, a quarterback for the Bobcats.
“As for my senior year, Joe Montana’s son (transferred) in and started at quarterback,” Zebrasky said. “I missed out on my senior year.
“After graduating (in December), I really didn’t have a plan. But one of my former coaches at West Virginia Wesleyan, Willie Robinson, connected with me. He basically found me and offered me a chance to play football again.”
Zebrasky will have to go many miles to resume his football career as he has signed with the Lubeck Cougars, located in northern Germany. Robinson, who served as West Virginia Wesleyan’s special teams coordinator during Zebrasky’s time there, is Lubeck’s head coach. Zebrasky is one of the team’s candidates to play quarterback.
Lubeck plays in the American Football Association of Germany’s German Football League. It is the oldest team in the Association. The season is slated to start in May.
“Of course, I am thrilled,” Zebrasky said. “It is an opportunity to play football again. When I took off my pads in November, I thought that was it – the end of playing football for me.
“I travelled through a lot of adversity in college, as far as football goes. I was disappointed how it ended. But I have always been the type to learn and listen to what my mom (Kelley) always taught me. Everything happens for a reason. I am stronger for what I went through and now I have another chance.”
The 23-year-old Zebrasky is a Canon-McMillan graduate and former WPIAL javelin champion and was a three-time West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference javelin champion as a freshman, junior and senior.
The strong-armed Zebrasky will battle with Ole Wulf for the Cougars’ starting quarterback job.
“One of the reasons I wanted (to) have Zane on my team, is that I know him well,” said Robinson, on the Cougars’ website. “He knows the offensive system that we want to play in Lubeck, inside and out.”
Zebrasky will leave Feb. 16 to report to his German team. He is prepping for his big chance and feels comfortable with what he is doing.
“They are going to run my college offense,” Zebrasky said. “It is a spread type of offense.”
In the interim, Zebrasky is working out at both Canon-McMillan and Avella high schools under the watch of Guy Montecalvo, the Big Macs’ athletic director and Zebrasky’s high school coach, and his brother, Zack Zebrasky, an assistant football coach at Avella.
Zane Zebrasky admitted that his football knowledge comes from those two and his father, Frank, a long-time football assistant at Washington and then at Canon-McMillan under Montecalvo.
“I’ve learned a lot from Zack,” Zane Zebrasky said. “He and my father have taught just about all I know about football.”
Coming from a coaching family, Frank Zebrasky is currently Canon-McMillan’s head coach for girls basketball and baseball. Zack Zebrasky is offensive coordinator at Avella, is an assistant boys basketball coach at Fort Cherry and junior varsity baseball coach at Canon-McMillan.
Zane Zebrasky said he, too, wants to coach someday.
“I think I have always been good with kids,” the criminal justice major said. “I feel like I can offer help to kids. I have thought about coaching and coaching with my brother. I know he will be a successful (head) coach someday. He is a smart guy and I would love to coach with him.”
For now, though, coaching will have to wait.
Zebrasky isn’t about to throw his chance at playing football away.
“I was around some coaches in college like Anthony Thomas (a University of Michigan product) and Willie Parker (former Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back). They were so humble and grateful for their opportunities both on and off the field. They showed me that what happens off the field is more important than what happens on the field,” Zebrasky said. “It was interesting to see those kinds of personalities. They were professional and always gave back to us as players. That is the right way.”