It has been a good year for the North Branch football team with records broken by individual players and honors received.
Viking senior quarterback Zack Sundly, as well as senior runningback Rance Ashley, broke a school record that went back to 1909 by each rushing over 200 yards in one game for a total of 512 yards.
Sundly was then named Player of the Week by both the Minneapolis Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press when he broke another school record. This time, he surpassed 300 rushing yards (312, actually) in a game, while completing four of five passes for 34 yards. It was the first time a local high school athlete was honored by both big newspapers at the same time.
“I started getting congratulations and then found out what it was all about,” said Sundly. “It was a big honor. Hearing from people from other towns, even way down south. It was awesome.”
But to Sundly, team matters more than individual accomplishments.
“Everybody has to do their part to get a win,” he said. “Not like wrestling where one person can get throttled and another can do well. Instead, everybody feels success.”
Sundly takes great pride in his offensive line, which includes senior tight end Brady Grummons, senior left tackle Jake Schimtz, senior left guard Chaz Anderson, senior center Mason Niederkorn, as well as junior right guard Seamus Hunter and sophomore right tackle Nick Helms.
“They’re all doing a great job,” said Sundly. “They’re all working out so hard all summer and watching all the film. Soaking up all the information from the new coaches we have. Mason, my snapper, is doing a phenomenal job. He’s only 140, but he plays like he weighs a lot more than that. The seniors are definitely showing a lot of leadership for the team.”
While there has been a new coach every year for most of Sundly’s high school career, this is the second year for coach Nick Nitti and his staff.
“The coaches are doing a great job,” Sundly noted. “Stepping in with new kids, and they all just love the coaches. We have some new coaches that are doing a phenomenal job.”
Sundly started playing flag football in first or second grade before participating in Forest Lake Athletic Association Football, a youth tackle program. With the encouragement of his dad, Tom, who is very involved in Vikings athletic programs, he has since been a part of North Branch football.
Future plans are up in the air for Sundly. He’s still looking at colleges and doesn’t have a specific major in mind. It’s possible he will play college football, but for now he has wrestling coming up and plans to go out for baseball for the first time since he was freshman.
When asked about his favorite memory of his football career, Sundly replied, “Being able to win every Homecoming since I’ve been on the varsity team. All the hype of the crowd and winning that game where everyone is there to watch.”