BY GENE NARDI
Seminole Ridge High School starting quarterback Zach DeCosta has been training through the summer to improve his skills for the coming fall season.
The 6-foot, 180-pound senior has had the starting job since the spring of his sophomore year, when former SRHS quarterback Antwan Washington transferred to Glades Central High School.
Critics doubted DeCosta’s ability to lead the football powerhouse at such a young age, and after a rough 0-2 start last season against William T. Dwyer and Park Vista high schools, a successful season appeared as if it was out of reach for the Hawks.
“The losses brought us closer together as a team and motivated us,” DeCosta said. “We focused on what we needed to do, watching film and training.”
The Hawks won a pivotal game against Wellington High School the following week, and continued their streak, winning their remaining seven regular season games. DeCosta directed the Hawks to a district championship, and led them through a 35-31, come-from-behind rematch victory against Park Vista.
DeCosta threw a 46-yard touchdown pass at the end of the game to send the Hawks into their much-anticipated match-up against rival Palm Beach Central High School. “We knew we had to play together as a team to beat them this time,” he said.
Under DeCosta’s leadership, the Hawks won decisively, 31-7, over the Broncos. The Hawks season came to an end in the final eight in the FHSAA regional tournament, where they fell to Broward powerhouse Cypress Bay High School, 31-14.
DeCosta is no stranger to football, he has played the sport in the Acreage/Loxahatchee area since he was 5 years old.
DeCosta put up 868 passing yards last season, six post-season touchdown passes and received honorable mention in last season’s Palm Beach Post all-county. He noted that the Hawks are not primarily a passing team, but can put the ball in the air when necessary.
DeCosta credits his success to his team, offensive line and Hawk quarterback coach Frank Binstead. He also looks forward to his senior season with new head coach Scott Barnwell, who served as assistant coach last season. DeCosta believes Barnwell can carry on the SRHS football tradition and continue the team’s success.
DeCosta has not had much time off through the summer, preparing for his senior season. He attended four camps in addition to keeping a strict schedule in the weight room to improve his strength, as well as throwing to hone his accuracy.
DeCosta puts an emphasis on education. He finished his junior year with a 3.6 GPA. “If I decide not to play football in college, I would like to attend a university in Florida,” he said.
Amherst College and Methodist College are a couple of the schools that have expressed interest in DeCosta, and that list is sure to grow at the conclusion of the fall season.
With his senior year still to unfold as a Hawk quarterback, there will be many new chapters to write, but it is clear that DeCosta has been committed to excellence in developing himself as a leader for the Seminole Ridge football team.
ABOVE: DeCosta stays in the pocket and looks to throw down field in the “Best of the West” game against crosstown rival Royal Palm Beach.