Clear Lake’s return to football prominence this season was due to many factors, but perhaps without the help of one big player, maybe the Lions don’t finish where they did.
That guy was Zach Lester, and he did it all for Clear Lake.
Leading receiver, best defensive back, kicker, punter, punt returner, and kick returner, Lester’s talent on the football field knew no bounds. For all that he did this year, Lester has been named the Globe Gazette’s co-Player of the Year.
“He is one of the special players to come out of Clear Lake and he’s been an absolute treat to coach,” Clear Lake coach Jared DeVries said. “I can see a lot of Clear Lake kids looking up to him.”
What made him stand out most was his talent on the outside.
With a year already under his belt at the position after switching from quarterback following his sophomore season, Lester blossomed into an all-state receiver. He was third in Class 2A with 818 receiving yards on 43 receptions and he hauled in eight touchdowns.
Every time he lined up, he, his sophomore quarterback Jaylen DeVries, and his coach knew who the best player on the field was. It didn’t matter what opposing teams threw at them
“He saw a variety of coverages and it was not very often he was single covered,” coach DeVries said. “When he did, he had those huge games. Even when he was doubled or there was a third defender rolling over he still caught balls, and I think that was probably the most impressive thing that he was still productive even with that.”
His ball skills are what immediately catch your attention.
It was known the kind of talent he possessed as a junior when that part of his game was shown off on defense as he picked off eight passes on the way to first-team all-state honors as a defensive back. DeVries pointed to the Lions’ first game this season to highlight Lester’s talent for finding the ball. He picked off a pass less than a minute into the season.
Lester finished the year with four interceptions, 33 tackles and one sack, and very easily could’ve been all-state on defense as well.
“His playmaking ability both offensively and defensively (is what stands out),” DeVries said. “He’s got an unbelievable talent and a knack for going up and getting the ball, and that’s what sets him apart.”