October 23, 2012

Backup takes the reins

More news about: Cal Lutheran
Zach Shultis has stepped in and thrown 11 touchdown passes with one interception for Cal Lutheran.
Cal Lutheran athletics photo

Zach Shultis regularly sees the football field for the point after. More recently he has been contributing directly to the other six points.

Shultis, a backup quarterback at Cal Lutheran, has been filling in as starter over the last three games and has been a big factor in the Kingsmen's three straight wins.

Since starting quarterback Kevin Ramay went down with a broken thumb in the second quarter of Week 6 with Redlands, Shultis has executed the Cal Lutheran offense with great precision. Shultis has completed 52 of 71 passes for 753 yards (73.2 percent), 11 touchdowns and just one interception. The 5-1 Kingsmen are at Whittier this week.

"He's just got a great command of our offense," Kingsmen coach Ben McEnroe said. "When a backup comes in sometimes you have to limit what you have to do. We haven't had to do that. Zach has been completely accurate. We couldn’t ask for more with that. He has been extremely efficient and has done everything we've wanted him to do."

That includes kicking extra points as Shultis is a perfect 25-for-25 on the season. The field goal and kickoff duties are handled by David Sandler.

"We do all special teams at beginning of practice," Shultis said. "Then I hold for field goals and then I move over for the quarterbacks. It's exciting but I enjoy doing it, anything for the team."

Shultis and Ramay had an intense battle to open the camp with Ramay winning out. Ramay was the quarterback in the first three weeks before his injury. He will be coming back soon after he heals.

Kevin Ramay is expected to return before the end of the season from his broken thumb.
Photo by Joe Bergman, d3photography.com 

"There's no doubt that Kevin is our starter when he is healthy," McEnroe said. "Zach knows that Kevin is the starting quarterback, I don't see any change in Zach's approach. It will propel Kevin to compete when he comes back which makes better competition and makes for a better team."

And the two quarterbacks have also forged a tight bond through all of it.

"It's a great competition," Shultis said. "It was neck and neck going in. We became close friends and we help each other out. It's competitive but it's what you want. Everything is for the betterment of the team. We both support each other, we both help each other. We have friendly competition, but at the same time, we both want to play."

When Ramay comes back, there's no telling whether Shultis will be back in the fold or not. Regardless, McEnroe is impressed with what Shultis has accomplished.

 "It's a great example of what you tell young people when things don't go your way. He's a great example to his teammates. He's been more than ready. The maturity of a loss of tough quarterback battle and still being able to be impressive speaks a lot about the kid."

Behind the number


Consecutive games UW-Whitewater had won in WIAC play before UW-Oshkosh topped the Warhawks 28-13 Saturday.

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Josh Smith photo

Josh Smith has covered Division III sports for more than five years. He writes for multiple publications, including D3football.com beginning in 2012. He has won multiple awards for reporting and photography and lives in southern Wisconsin near UW-Whitewater, where he graduated with a degree in print journalism.

2011-12 columns: Jason Galleske
2010: Tim Walsh
2003-09: Adam Johnson
1999-2000: Don Stoner 

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