Lacombe Composite High School Ram Zach Schwab was recently named the Central Alberta High School Football League City Division Offensive Player of the Year, after a stellar season that saw his team upset the Lindsay Thurber Raiders in the semifinals in an unlikely 27-21 win.
Schwab was thankful to the league for recognizing his and his team’s success.
“It was truly a blessing to be able to have such an impact on Rams football and to be able to guide some of our players to not only some of their life goals, but also coming close to a championship. That is pretty cool,” he said.
Schwab got his start in football when he was living in Prince George, B.C.
“I played for a year and half for the Prince George Axemen. It was a good experience — they had me playing defensive line for a little bit,” he said.
It was only after coming to Alberta and playing for the Lacombe Raiders bantam team four years ago that Schwab realized his real football talent was making amazing catches as a wide receiver.
“With a baseball background, it felt easy to catch a football. Coach Fred (Knip) taught me so much about team work, family and all sorts of things. We had to work together and be there for everyone there,” he said.
Many of the players Schwab player with as a Raider would go on to be Ram fixtures.
“The guys there helped me turn into the player I am today. I couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.
In Grade 10, Schwab was already showing promise as a star wide receiver — helped out by the fact he was catching balls from the number one ranked high school quarterback John Ericson, who is now on the University of Alberta Golden Bears roster.
“He taught me how to run my routes, what the depth was and everything else. He sure helped me to become a decent wide receiver,” Schwab said.
Being mentored by future Golden Bears was a theme of Schwab’s high school career, with his Grade 11 year featuring being able to play with receiver Richard Jans.
“He helped me with everything from route running, to adjusting my speed off the line, press breaks, press releases and everything like that. He definitely helped and taught me how to use my hands,” he said.
Schwab is hoping to be able to play football at the next level like the previously mentioned Rams alumni and his highlight reel has already been sent out to prospective teams.
“I am definitely considering the Edmonton Huskies. Turner Douglas from last year said it is amazing to be down there. I am definitely considering playing for the Central Alberta Buccaneers,” he said, adding he wants to continue to work hard at LCHS to keep all of his possibilities open.
“I know that success is about opportunity and I don’t want to waste that chance,” he said.
Despite a bright future, Schwab admitted it is hard to say good-bye to his time at LCHS.
“Coach (Brian) Ross said it best. Nothing is like high school football,” he said.
Ross has been a consistent presence for Schwab throughout his time with the Rams.
“He taught me a lot about winning and losing. From what I learned, life is all about taking the wins and taking the losses. He has been a big part of my life and there was times I saw Mr. Ross more than I did my family because of practices. He definitely helped me with life choices and I consider him a darn good guy,” he said.
Schwab expects football to be part of his life going forward.
”I never want to stop playing this game. It has given me so much and I want to give back all I can,” he said.
He added he wants to thank everyone he has been able to play football with.
“I love those guys and I hope they have all the success they can in the future. I hope they all do good,” he said.