From a news release:
In its 25th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Zach Zwinak of Linganore High School as its 2009-10 Gatorade Maryland Football Player of the Year. Zwinak is the second Gatorade Maryland Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Linganore High School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Zwinak as Maryland’s best high school football player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award, to be announced in mid-December, Zwinak joins an elite alumni association of past state football award winners, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich).
The 6-foot-2½, 235-pound fullback/linebacker has rushed for 1,908 yards and 23 touchdowns on 142 carries—an average of 13.4 yards per attempt—entering the Class 3A state championship game against Huntingtown, scheduled for Dec. 5. A 2010 U.S. Army All-American, Zwinak led the Lancers (13-0) to a Class 4A runner-up finish in 2008 and is ranked as the No. 1 fullback in the country by ESPN.
Zwinak has maintained a 3.38 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered on behalf of local youth football programs.
“In 17 years of coaching, he’s the best fullback I’ve ever seen,” said Kevin Lynott, head coach of rival Middletown High. “He’s got size, running ability, speed … if you don’t have at least two guys on him, or if he gets any kind of crease, he’s gone.”
Zwinak has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at Penn State University beginning in the fall of 2010.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.