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Mother’s example guides Larrier as Mustang balances school and sports

By James Darnell Citizen Sports Writer, 11/10/18, 11:00AM PST


For many high school students, juggling class work, homework, and a social life is challenging enough. Mix in playing several sports, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and jet-setting to several college campuses while being recruited by Division I college football programs, and no one would blame a young athlete if they were overwhelmed.  Yet for Monterey Trail senior quarterback and multi-sport student athlete Zach Larrier, that’s just part of the territory.

Larrier, the 6-foot, 188-pound signal caller, defensive back and team leader of the undefeated Mustang varsity football team, has been making official visits to college campuses on the west coast as of late. Larrier is currently receiving interest from several schools to play defensive back, including the likes of Cal-Berkeley, Stanford, BYU, Fresno State, Nevada, Oregon State, Washington State, and others. This past weekend, Larrier visited Washington State, with the Mustangs having the weekend off after earning a first-round bye in the Sac Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. As Larrier continues to narrow down his top choices, however, he has been forthright in where his focus is at this point in time.

“It’s been pretty easy,” Larrier said of juggling the recruiting process and playing for Monterey Trail. “I make sure I let all the recruiters know that I’m trying to focus on getting to a Section championship and winning it with my team this year. They know where my focus is at currently.”

Between his studies and athletic aspirations, Larrier certainly has his hands full. In addition to football, he has played basketball and ran track for the Mustangs throughout his time at Monterey Trail. But staying grounded and taking an approach mature beyond his years has been one of the traits that has impressed his coaches - and surely college scouts - alike. Working hard and keeping his priorities in order comes naturally to Larrier, but he’s certainly had quite the example set for him by his mother, Emily.

“It comes directly from my mother,” he said of his motivation to excel. “She went back to school when I was in sixth grade to get her Physical Therapy degree, and I got to watch her work really hard. She finished with a 3.8 GPA in the two years she took to get the degree, so I got to witness that firsthand. It’s kind of bled into my life and everything that I do.”

It’s not just academic prowess that he inherited in his genes, however. Athletically, his mother ran the 400 at Youngstown State University in Ohio, with his father Damon having played center and noseguard for American International College. His father unexpectedly passed away at 31 years old, prior to Larrier turning three.

In his senior season, Larrier has turned in his finest performance to date on the gridiron. As a passer, Larrier has tossed 16 touchdowns with just one interception. On the ground, he has compiled an impressive 769 yards rushing and 13 more scores, at a stellar 11.9 yards per carry clip. On the defensive side of the ball, he has snagged three interceptions to lead the Mustangs as well.

But aside from his mother, Larrier has another person he looks up to, and to whom he ultimately tries to craft his approach to the game of football around. When asked who he idolizes on the field, his answer came quick and without hesitation: Former Green Bay Packers’ great and football icon, Brett Favre.

“He’s my favorite player of all time,” he said of Favre. “I just like how he was always going to ‘do him’ and try and make sure his team wins. Regardless of what the outcome was, whether he threw a pick or whatever, he didn’t care. As long as he was going 100-percent and trying to win. I got a lot of respect for him.”

Favre was certainly known for his heroics on the field, and Larrier will have a chance to pull off some postseason magic of his own as the No. 2 seed Mustangs host No. 7 seed Pitman in their second round match up, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at Mark Macres Memorial Stadium. It’s win-or-go-home for Larrier and the rest of his teammates, but he feels that both he and his team are up for the challenge.

“We played them my sophomore year in the playoffs and they knocked us out, so we’re all real motivated to get them back and keep the season going,” he said. “They run that Wing-T and I think we match up well. We have a great defensive line this year and great linebackers up front to stop the run game, so I think it’s going to be a hard game for them.”

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