WAITSBURG - If you want something done at Waitsburg High School, go ask the kid whose plate is already full.
Zach Bartlow is not only a three-sport (football, basketball and baseball) varsity letterman who maintains a 3.9 GPA and is active in National Honor Society and Leo's Club (a community service club), he's also finding time to serve as the 2011-12 Waitsburg ASB president.
"You can't find a better kid," Waitsburg-Prescott offensive coordinator and quarterback coach TJ Scott said. "Personality wise and as a leader, he always does the right thing. He's a role model for the younger kids and for the older kids. They see him staying away from the parties and staying out of trouble, and it's a huge thing for this school."
And has the W-P starting quarterback found time to get school stuff done?
"We started the year with a ‘Welcome Frosh barbecue and dance," president Bartlow said. "For our homecoming, we're going to schedule a tailgate party. That's it for now, but school is just getting started."
Academically, Bartlow does well across the board, but admits to a favorite subject.
"My favorite subject is math," he said. "Actually, it's my best subject. I'm doing pretty well in school."
Bartlow is the middle sibling of Jeff and Lori, who met while both attended Pomeroy High School.
"High school sweethearts," Zach said.
Jeff, W-P's veteran head football coach, played football at Walla Walla Community College and then at University of Idaho. He served as a counselor at Pioneer Middle School in Walla Walla before becoming a teacher and coach (track as well as football) at Waitsburg.
Lori, is connected with school as secretary at Waitsburg Middle School. Older sister Ellie is a sophomore at Corban University and currently studying abroad in Germany, and younger brother Nathan is a sophomore at Waitsburg and a lineman on the football team.
Zach, except for one day, is a Waitsburg school product.
"I went one day to kindergarten in Walla Walla," Zach said. "My dad already had the (Waitsburg) job, and the next day we found a house and moved."
Zach plans to follow Ellie to college.
"I want to stay close enough to be able to come home," Zach said. "But be far enough away to get out on my own and experience stuff. My interest right now is leaning toward business or sports management and I've also been looking at pharmacy."
Is there spare time for this senior?
"I like to do a lot of sports, but I like going skiing and I really like going boating," Zach said. "And whatever keeps me busy, as I don't like to sit around too much. College football is the only video game that I play."
Zach's football journey started with grid kids back in the third grade. He converted to quarterback in the fifth grade and started at quarterback for the first time as a sixth grader, and the rest is history.
"Up until the eighth grade, whatever season it was, that was my favorite sport," Zach said. "Sophomore year I was better at football than basketball and that (football) was the sport I focused on."
Zach's quarterback coach has watched the history unfold.
"As a freshman, he was the most athletic kid," said Scott, a former Waitsburg and Eastern Washington University quarterback. "But his arm wasn't very strong. He just worked his tail off over four years. Every year he comes out here and his arm gets bigger and bigger. I haven't seen anything like it on a high school level. He can throw the ball on a line 30 yards, or he can throw a ball 55 yards with a little touch on it."
Zach has grown into the position and the pressure that comes with playing quarterback.
"My sophomore year was my first varsity starting year," Bartlow said. "I felt the pressure to be successful because I didn't want to disappoint the seniors. My junior year, I was more relaxed and more successful. You get to understand things better and everything slows down. This year, I'm more of a leader and everyone is looking toward me. It's been fun to have that change. Sometimes, I feel that if I'm not doing well, our team is more vulnerable to lose. I have to take more of the load and step up as a senior.
"I'm more of a quiet leader, a leader by example," Zach said of his leadership style. "I feel like I need to be more vocal, but it's not in my nature."
W-P is not complaining.
"He's a smart kid and sees the field really well," Scott said. "He's got the full package of audibles. He can call whatever he wants if he sees something. He's a special kid. He'll say ‘Coach let's run this.' Whenever he comes up and says that, I say ‘OK, run it.' It usually works."
"I look every play," Bartlow said of his play selection. "I usually run the play that is called, because if I change it and it doesn't work, he (Scott) yells at you.
"He (Scott) has been really good for me," Zach added about his offensive coordinator. "He's probably one of the best quarterbacks in our school's history. Him coming to Waitsburg to coach me up was a blessing. He's really helped me to be the best I can be."
Bartlow was all-state at quarterback and at defensive safety - thanks to five interceptions in three Class 2B state playoff games last November - and has goals are to repeat this fall.
"I want to get all-league and all-state again," Bartlow said. "Rushing wise I want to get a 1,000 yards (920 in 2011), and match my numbers last year in passing (2,169 yards with 24 TDs)."
But Bartlow has his eyes set on a bigger prize.
"I want to get to Tacoma (site of Gridiron Classic state championship games)," Bartlow continued. "I want to win. I don't want to fall short again (a 21-14 loss to Colfax in last year's semifinals). That was too painful. I don't really care about the other stuff. I want to get to Tacoma."
And the 2012 W-P squad is coming around to make a run.
"I'm anxious to play a team that's more competitive," Bartlow said of W-P's 3-0 start. "We've blown everyone out so far. We're not starting games real well. Once we get that going, I think we'll be a very good club. Our line is just as good as last year. Our receivers are stepping in real nice. Our running backs are doing well. Our defense is our weakest part so far."
Wherever the 2012 football journey ends for W-P, Bartlow sees football in his future. He went to camps at Princeton and Penn last summer and has heard from several college programs, including Oregon, Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Linfield.
"He's a college quarterback," Scott said. "I've been there and seen what quarterbacks look like. He (Bartlow) is legit. He's good enough to play at the next level."
"It (the camps) was a lot of fun," Bartlow said of his summer. "I got to meet a lot of different coaches and see a lot of different ways people coach at different levels.
"I got to see the big city (New York), which was really cool for me," Bartlow said of his East Coast swing. "I expected it (NYC) to be big, but it was crazy."
Is there a formula for all this success?
"On home football games, I get home from school and I play college football on my play station," Bartlow said. "It gets me focused. (And) I really like chicken. It's my favorite meat by far. Any kind of chicken - chicken enchiladas, strips - anything with chicken is my favorite meal."