Waitsburg-Prescott's Zach Bartlow opts for Eastern Oregon

Zach Bartlow, who led Waitsburg-Prescott to the Class 2B state title last fall, heads to La Grande.

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WAITSBURG - All that remains in the long recruiting process for Waitsburg-Prescott standout Zach Bartlow is some paperwork.

Bartlow chose Eastern Oregon University in La Grande over an offer from Montana Western on Wednesday, as well as walk-on offers at Idaho State and Eastern Washington.

Bartlow will receive a partial athletic scholarship and earned an academic scholarship to cover the remaining balance of his tuition.

He visited all the schools over the summer, Bartlow said, but only took official visits to Montana Western and Eastern Oregon this fall.

Bartlow had wanted to play at the highest level possible in college, but scholarship offers never materialized at Idaho State or Eastern Washington and he didn't want to be buried on the depth chart.

The quarterback said sholarship offers from Montana Western and Eastern Oregon were similar, as were the programs, but he liked the proximity to home EOU offered.

Another factor that helped sway his decision was playing time. Eastern Oregon graduates their previous four-year starter at quarterback, Chris Ware, this spring, so the competition for playing time will be open.

"It's totally wide open," Bartlow said. "I think I have as good a chance as anyone to start right off the bat. Playing as a freshman would be great, but I'm willing to work to get there. That's part of the reason I didn't walk on to another school; I didn't want to be fourth or fifth on the depth chart and then have to work my way up without any money. Going here is a good fit for me."

Bartlow also said he felt the school felt right and appreciated the coaches' up-beat attitudes.

"I like the coaches at Eastern (Oregon) a lot," Bartlow said. "They're really up-beat and have a lot of energy and are excited for me to come there. I'm excited to play for them."

Bartlow (6-1, 188) dominated the Southeast 2B Conference his senior year, amassing 2,333 yards and 33 touchdowns through the air and 1,418 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground.

He capped his senior season with a tour de force performance in the 2B state title game against Morton-White Pass, accounting for 307 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-7 whipping of the runner-up.

Bartlow earned the 2011 AP and Seattle Times B2 Player of the Year awards and he was on the AP all-state team his junior and senior seasons.

A three-sport athlete, Bartlow also earned all-league honors his junior year for baseball and basketball.

The transition from high school to college is bittersweet for Bartlow, who had so much success in Waitsburg.

"Definitely (it is bittersweet), I love it here," he said. "Waitsburg's been my home for as long as I can remember. It's just been a dream come true what I've been able to do here. It'll be tough to leave - I'm excited - but it will be tough to leave all this behind."

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