Westlake football sending four to college
‘Very, very dedicated and very versatile’ quartet headed to next level
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.