All-Region Football player of the year
Zak Browning Senior, Union High School
Saturday, December 11, 2010
• Led team to 7-3 record and a third consecutive playoff berth.
• Rushed for 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns, most coming in just the final eight games of the season.
• Voted the offensive player of the year in the 4A GSHL.
• Also made first-team, all-league status as a linebacker.
More about Zak
• Favorite movie: “Dumb and Dumber”
• Favorite book: “I’m a Harry Potter nerd. I’ve read them all.”
• Embarrassing moment: “I left my jersey in my Mom’s van (last year). I had to wear a different jersey for warm-ups. It was just before the game when I was able to get my real jersey.”
Next year and beyond
Zak is a Mormon. He says he will play college football, but he is not sure when or where. His first priority is to go on a mission for his church.
“It’s almost like a brotherhood. ... For three years, you’re with these guys more than your family. I love the friendships that I’ve made.”
Union football player, discussing his favorite part of football
• Zak Browning, Sr., RB, Union: All-Region player of the year could take his pick on offense (RB) or defense (LB).
• Logan Grindy, Sr., QB, Camas: Broken leg ended season prior to playoffs, but he was simply the best.
• Parker Henry, Jr., RB, Skyview: Got his 1,000-yard season a year after injury cut short his first bid for 1,000.
• Zack Marshall, Jr., RB, Camas: Touchdown machine scored 23 times in his breakout season.
• Jeremy Faulkner, Sr., WR, Camas: School’s career leader in receptions also made all-league as a defensive back.
• Reiley Henderson, So., WR, Skyview: Looking for a quick touchdown? Find Reiley Henderson.
• T.J. Boatright, Sr., OL, Union: Because tight ends are linemen, too, and he was a top-notch blocker for Titans
• Cody Fields, Sr., OL, Skyview: Whether it was run blocking or pass blocking, the Storm line dominated.
• Trevor Clarkson, Sr., OL, Camas: Can’t win 11 games without a quality offensive line leading the way.
• Nolan LaValley, Sr., OL, Heritage: First-team all-leaguer is expected to continue playing in college.
• Drew Bryant, Sr., OL, Mountain View: Helped launch an impressive rushing attack for the Thunder.
• Jesse Zalk, Jr., AP, Prairie: All-purpose athlete scored 14 touchdowns five different ways.
• Odin Coe, Sr., DL, Camas: Finalist for player of the year was amazing on defense, and solid on OL, too.
• Wade Huett, Sr., DL, Stevenson: Trico League defensive POY led Bulldogs to 9 wins, first state playoff appearance.
• Ryan Johnson, Jr., DL, Mountain View: No longer a secret, but Mountain View’s defense was solid all season.
• Jordan Newman, Sr., DL, Union: Earned first-team status, all-league for two consecutive seasons.
• Ikaika Gunderson, Sr., LB, Camas: Always seemed to put himself in the perfect position to make a play.
• Sam Ferenchak, Sr., LB, Union: One-half of the “Two Sams” who helped Union dominate on defense.
• Sam Lowe, Sr., LB, Union: One-half of the “Two Sams” who helped Union dominate on defense.
• Dylan Petersen, Sr., LB, Mountain View: Another key player in Thunder’s first playoff season since 2006.
• Ellis Henderson, Sr., DB, Skyview: 4A GSHL’s defensive player of the year also was sensational WR/specialist.
• Addison Owen, Sr., DB, Camas: Do not let this guy hit you on the football field. It will hurt.
• Brent Hill, Sr., DB, Camas: If team needed to shut down opposing WR, Hill got the assignment.
• Mo Morrison, Jr., DB, Skyview: He led Skyview in interceptions, including a couple in crunch time.
Browning was an all-around star at Union
By Paul Valencia
Columbian staff writer
Zak Browning is a natural. Put him on the football field, anywhere, and he will succeed.
His last three seasons with the Union Titans proved just that.
But it was in his final season when he became more than just a great linebacker, more than the best fullback his coach had ever coached in high school. This past season, Browning became the featured back.
And he featured a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns.
An All-Region linebacker as a junior, and already a sensational fullback, Browning was thrust into a bigger spotlight, and he shined with 1,200 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. (Those pretty much came in eight games because he rarely carried the ball in the team’s first two games.) Oh, he added a couple hundred yards receiving and two more TDs, plus he had a defensive touchdown, giving him 22 in 2010.
All that, and he remained one of the best linebackers in the county.
Combining those talents, he is The Columbian’s All-Region football player of the year.
“Not very many get this opportunity,” Browning said. “I consider myself blessed to have the teammates that I’ve had and the coaches that I’ve had to make it possible.”
The Titans went 31-6 in Browning three varsity years, He has special memories “that will last a lifetime” from each season.
There were the big playoff wins over Ferndale and Lakes to get Union to the state championship game in 2008.
Then the three-touchdown, fourth-quarter rally to win the league title in 2009.
And hanging tough with state powerhouse Bellevue to open the 2010 season at Qwest Field in Seattle. He said he knew then that this year’s squad was good, too.
“This is how I imagined varsity football when I was a kid,” Browning said. “For it to live up to my expectations was big.”
The most difficult part is now.
“It’s kind of weird to have it gone all of a sudden,” he said.
Zak Browning will always have those memories, though. Memories of a superlative high school football experience.