Switching from Wildcat Green to Bobcat Orange
After calling the signals for the Paden City Wildcat football team for the last four years, senior Zach Heasley has decided to continue his studies and time on the grid iron at West Virginia Wesleyan as a Bobcat.
Trading his Green and White uniform in for an Orange and Black one, Heasley signed a letter of intent last week to attend school and play football at Wesleyan, saying he was very impressed with the campus and coaching staff at Wesleyan, all of which played a large part in his choice.
“I didn’t want to go anywhere real big,” he said. “I like the feel of the smaller campus, I think I’ll be comfortable there and I’ll do well. It’s kinda like Paden City in a way, everything’s in one place and everybody knows everybody else.”
The 6’4, 225 lb. football, basketball and baseball starter for the Wildcats since his freshman year, Heasley says he feels he is well prepared for life after high school at Wesleyan, which is a Division II school. “Paden City High School, my coaches, teachers and my parents have prepared me pretty well I think.”
The new recruit for the Bobcats will graduate with his class in May with a GPA of 3.4 and plans to study Pre-Physical Therapy/ Athletic training.
He was selected to the first team OVAC in football, basketball and baseball last year and was All Valley and First team Mason Dixon Conference. The Wildcat quarterback was named All-State in football this season as well as All-Valley, first team OVAC, and Offensive Player of the Week by the Wheeling Intelligencer. He is also a one year letter winner in track, qualifying for state in the 4×200 relay.
This summer, at a quarter back football camp in North Carolina ran by former Georgia University/Atlanta Falcons quarter back, D.J. Shockley, Heasley was the top quarter back at the camp, beating out 17 other players.
Though he made Wesleyan his choice pretty early on, the University of Charleston, Bethany, Waynesburg University and a few other schools showed interest in him throughout his senior season.
“Zack worked very hard at making himself better at the quarter back position,” said Brent Croasmun, head coach of the Paden City Wildcat football team. “As a freshman we kinda threw him right into the fire as our starting quarter back, and he stepped up to the responsibility.”
This past season, at the quarter back position for the ‘Cats, Heasley completed 119 of 211 passing attempts to gain 1,521 yards and threw for 10 touchdowns. He rushed 63 times for 84 yards, scoring four TD’s. As a punter, he totaled 417 yards on 12 punts.
“For us, his size came into play and allowed him to extend a lot of plays because it was hard for the defense to bring down. We saw a lot of progress in him from his junior year to his senior year, extending the plays and on his running game at the QB position.”
“I believe he made a good choice in choosing Wesleyan. It’s not only offers very good educational programs academically, but it’ll be a good fit for him athletically as well. Again, his size will be a plus for them. You can’t coach 6’4 and 200 plus pounds, with room to add some muscle and strength.”
“I wish him all the luck in the world, and I know he realizes that it will require a lot of dedication and hard work. But he can do it.”
The Wesleyan Bobcats, who went 4-6 this year, are coached by second year head coach George Shehl, who was a four year letterman himself at West Virginia University from 2002 – 2005. The Bobcats play in the Mountain East Conference (MEC), and will begin the 2015 season on Sept. 5 when they host Shepherd at Cebe Ross Field. Also on the schedule for the ‘Cats this fall are Glenville State, Fairmont State, Notre Dame, and West Liberty and Concord, to name a few.
Knowing he has his work cut out for him in order to secure a spot on the Bobcat roster, Heasley plans to continue conditioning during the off season. “I know I’ll have to work hard when I get there,” he said. “So I’m not going to let up. I’m going to condition and work out hard this summer. I definitely want to be ready.”
Zach is one of four children of Ron and Krissy Heasley of Paden City. He is the grandson of Ron and Carolyn Heasley of Paden City and Doug and Connie Sapp of Hurricane, W.Va., and realizes how large a part his family and community have played in the opportunities he’s been given.
“My parents have really played a big role in any success I see,” he said. “They’ve been with me, supporting me all the way. I really appreciate them taking the time to take me to all the camps and to all the college visits and the whole college process. It’s really helped me.”
“I owe a lot to my coaches too, especially coach Croasmun who showed great faith and trust in me to let me step into the quarter back position on the team as a freshman.”
“I’m ready. I want to do my best.”
Until graduation, the newest Bobcat will keep himself busy and in condition by finishing up the 2015 basketball season and making the most of his senior year on the baseball diamond.