Metzger represents Tigers at LV banquet
Zachary Thatcher brought the Hellertown community to life last fall, helping to lead Saucon Valley further than any other program in school history.
The Panthers won the Colonial League and the District 11 Class AAA championships, and advanced all the way to the PIAA state semifinals.
And Sunday night at the 2016 Scholar-Athlete awards banquet for the Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Football Foundation at the Northampton Community Center, Thatcher was named the overall winner.
It has been a year the senior won’t ever forget.
“I’m sure one day I’ll think and realize how amazing this year was and how great the people are that I know,” Thatcher said. “To win this award, it just puts a cap on top of everything.”
On the field, the 6-foot, 185-pound Thatcher went 67-for-109 passing for 1,210 yards and 14 touchdowns, ran 143 times for 1,164 yards and 17 touchdowns, and also racked up 50 tackles, seven pass deflections and one interception on defense.
“It’s definitely an honor for Zach to represent our program like this,” said Saucon Valley coach Matt Evancho, who stepped down at the end of the year. “This is one the means that most to me, absolutely. What it represents and what it stands for, I’d much rather have this than any other accolades.”
But this award was more about what Thatcher did in the classroom and in his community, rather than the numbers he put up on the gridiron and the scoreboard.
The 6-foot quarterback and defensive back holds a 4.8 GPA and ranks 22nd in his class out of 186 students. He is an honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society. When he’s not playing football, baseball or running track, Thatcher volunteers with the Hellertown Legion baseball program, helps out with youth football camps and is an active member of his church.
“My parents always say schoolwork first,” Thatcher said. “They always say they weren’t the greatest students, so they wanted us to be the great students. My brother is a great student too. I always get my work done. It’s something that you learn through football to get your work done, that discipline that you have to learn.”
Guest speaker Matt Millen, a standout football player in his day at Whitehall High School, Penn State University, and played for 12 years in the NFL, spoke to the 33 high school and six collegiate student-athletes about having a strong work ethic to put themselves in a position to be successful.
Thatcher heard that message loud and clear, and has been taking the right steps towards being successful.
He has not chosen a college yet for next year, but is highly considering continuing his academic and football career at Widener University, where he would join fellow teammate Christian Carvis, and study engineering.
Since the state semifinal game in early December, it has been a weird time for Thatcher, who is always involved in sports.
“I feel lonely in the winter when I’m without a sport,” said Thatcher. “I love having sports and then going home and doing homework at night. It just makes me more focused. It’s one of the best feelings.”
But spring is just around the corner, and the first day of practice for most schools begins this week.
Northwestern’s Lucas Metzger represented the Tigers at the banquet. The 5-10, 175-pound center and defensive end ranks 15 out of 188 students. He is an honor roll student and is ranked in the top ten percent of his class. He participates in varsity track, is the Science National Honor Society president, and serves on the executive council. He is a member of the United American Mechanics Lodge, Knights of the Golden Eagle Lodge, National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club.