West­lake foot­ball send­ing four to col­lege

‘Very, very ded­i­cated and very ver­sa­tile’ quar­tet headed to next level

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

A quar­tet of for­mer West­lake High School foot­ball play­ers signed their na­tional let­ters of in­tent to four dif­fer­ent col­leges be­fore ac­cept­ing their high school diplo­mas.

Ma­lik Opiyo is headed to Alder­son Broad­dus (W.Va.), Chad Palmer is bound for Cheney Univer­sity (Pa.), Dion­dre Greer is headed to Saint Fran­cis (Pa.) Univer­sity, and Dil­lon Mar­shall will at­tend Delaware State Univer­sity where he will seek to join to foot­ball team as a walk-on in the fall.

“First of all, this group of se­niors was very tal­ented and very coach­able,” said West­lake first-year coach Tony Zac­carelli, who had been with the pro­gram for three years as an as­sis­tant be­fore tak­ing over last fall. “Each of those four se­niors re­ally brought a lot to the team. All of them were very, very ded­i­cated and very ver­sa­tile and will­ing to do any­thing to help the team.”

Opiyo, who plans to ma­jor in ex­er­cise sci­ence at NCAA Di­vi­sion II Alder­son Broad­dus, played the en­tire foot­ball sea­son with a torn labarum in his right shoul­der and is re­cov­er­ing from surgery. Opiyo made two vis­its to Alder­son Broad­dus be­fore com­mit­ting to the school, not­ing that the foot­ball team has en­dured sev­eral coach­ing changes since.

“Sign­ing day was great for me,” Opiyo said. “But my main rea­son for tak­ing Alder­son Broad­dus was the money they of­fered. Hon­estly,

we’re not poor, but my fam­ily could not af­ford a full tu­ition at most of th­ese col­leges. They of­fered me the most money. I liked the coaches, but they have had two dif­fer­ent coaches. My ul­ti­mate goal is to get to play for North Carolina A&T.”

“Ma­lik is one of those guys who has a lot of ta­lent,” Zac­carelli said. “He made the var­sity team as a sopho­more and he’s al­ways dis­played tremen­dous character. I think last year was def­i­nitely his best sea­son. He was will­ing to play a lot of roles for us. I think Alder­son Broad­dus is go­ing to be a per­fect fit for him. He could have an im­pact for them right away as a fresh­man.”

Palmer guided the Wolver­ines of­fense the past three sea­sons. He im­pressed Zac­carelli with his abil­ity to read de­fenses and adapt to any sit­u­a­tion and he es­tab­lished nu­mer­ous school records as the Wolver­ines quar­ter­back.

“I thought Cheney was the ideal fit for Chad,” Zac­carelli said. Cheney, an NCAA Di­vi­sion II school, com­petes in the Penn­syl­va­nia State Ath­let­ics Con­fer­ence. “He stepped right in two or three games into his sopho­more sea­son and did a great job run­ning the of­fense. He was our field gen­eral. He was like hav­ing an­other coach on the field. He took over and set school records for us in pass­ing yards and touch­downs. He could adapt to any sit­u­a­tion and im­me­di­ately rec­og­nize what the de­fense was do­ing and what plays were go­ing to work against that de­fense.”

Zac­carelli ex­pects Greer, a two-way line­man, to have an im­me­di­ate im­pact at Saint Fran­cis, an NCAA Di­vi­sion I school in the North­east Con­fer­ence. The coach had hoped to have Greer as one of the Wolver­ines run­ning backs last fall, but in­stead the se­nior proved far more valu­able as the left guard on of­fense and a de­fen­sive end, al­though he did make the most of his lone chance to carry the foot­ball.

“He was re­ally good as a pulling guard on a a lot of our plays,” Zac­carelli said. “On de­fense, I can see him be­ing a ‘hy­brid’ at St. Fran­cis. He did get one chance to run the ball late in the sea­son when we ran a trick play and he ran 67 yards for a touch­down.”

On his sign­ing day cer­e­mony, Greer said: “It was the great­est day of my life. It meant so much to me to know that I had ful­filled a dream of get­ting a full ride to play Di­vi­sion I foot­ball in col­lege. I am so thank­ful for the op­por­tu­nity that St. Fran­cis has given me. They’ve al­ready in­vited me to at­tend their camp start­ing on July 30. I can’t wait to get up there.”

Zac­carelli noted that Mar­shall will head to Delaware State and at­tempt to join the NCAA Di­vi­sion I school from the Mid-Eastern Ath­letic Con­fer­ence as a walk-on, pri­mar­ily as an of­fen­sive line­man, al­though he played both for the Wolver­ines the past three sea­sons. Zac­carelli added that Mar­shall had sev­eral Di­vi­sion II of­fers, but felt that he could have an im­pact at Delaware State.

“He played re­ally well in the SMAC-P.G. Al­lS­tar game against some guys that are Di­vi­sion I re­cruits,” Zac­carelli said. “He thinks he can make it at Delaware State as a walk-on and then maybe earn a schol­ar­ship the next two or three sea­sons there. I can see him do­ing well as a guard or a cen­ter and then climbing the lad­der for more play­ing time.”


West­lake High School grad­u­ate Dion­dre Greer, pic­tured here in an Oct. 7, 2016 con­test ver­sus Lackey as a lead blocker for Jor­dan Brum­field, is headed to Saint Fran­cis (Pa.) Univer­sity.


West­lake High School grad­u­ate Ma­lik Opiyo signed his na­tional let­ter of in­tent to at­tend Alder­son Broad­dus Univer­sity (W.Va.) where he will play foot­ball and ma­jor in ex­er­cise sci­ence. Sit­ting, from left, are Opiyo’s mother Denise Spicer, Ma­lik Opiyo and Opiyo’s fa­ther Calvin Spicer. Stand­ing are for­mer West­lake head foot­ball coach Mar­lon Cur­tis, as­sis­tant coach Tony Cian­finchi, head foot­ball coach Tony Zac­carelli, Prin­ci­pal Michael Meiser and ath­letic di­rec­tor Do­minic Zac­carelli.


West­lake High School grad­u­ate Chad Palmer, pic­tured here in an Oct. 1, 2016 con­test ver­sus McDonough, is headed to Cheney Univer­sity in Penn­syl­va­nia.

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