Motivation & mellowness makes BP’s Enick excel

Published Aug 20, 2013 at 4:09 am (Updated Aug 19, 2013 at 10:33 am)

Before playing any football game, Zac Enick listens to Mumford and Sons and ‘mellows out’ in the locker room. Meanwhile, many of his Bethel Park teammates butt heads with their helmets and growl inane expressions into one another’s faces to psyche themselves up for their impending clash.

Admittedly not into that ‘adrenaline’ scene, Enick said, “I try to detach myself from the angst before a game. Get my pulse down. I play my best when I am relaxed so I put myself in a calm, peaceful place.”

Enick does so efficiently because he is prepared. He is ready to play because he has done all the hard work already.

“He’s the hardest worker I know,” said BP head coach Jeff Metheny. “Zac’s so intense.”

Because of football, Enick is intense. As a youth, he wanted to play the game because he liked the sport, but Hillcrest Christian School, which he attended, did not field a team. So at age 11, he joined the Bethel Park recreation league. It was his connection to being with other kids in the community, he said.

“But, I was bad. So bad,” Enick emphasized. “It stunk not being good so I worked at it. That’s all it was. This was something meaningful to me and I wanted to improve just for myself. So I developed a work ethic because I wanted to get better. That birthed the work ethic.”

Diligence is evident in all that Enick does. Scholastically, he maintains a 4.45 GPA and is capturing the interest of Ivy League colleges such as Brown University in Rhode Island as well as Bowdoin College in Maine. Enick plans to major in French and minor in music.

“I am a lot better at school than I am at football,” he said with a smile.

Enick certainly is a gifted guitar player. He is also starting to play the piano. In fact, he’s part of Kirk Voller’s music ministry at the South Hills Bible Chapel. Enick also is a talented baritone, who sings in the school’s chorus and concert choir. He likely will be admitted into BP’s Top 21 singing group this fall; plus participate in the musical next spring.

“Thanks to Mr. Voller, I got the urge to pick up a guitar and play,” said Enick, who has been honing his acoustic skills since sixth grade. Now, I’m learning the piano and working my way around finding the keys for our worship services. I like to sing, too,” added Enick, who has performed in talent shows and student government workshops and other small productions. “I’m not huge on performing but it’s fun to prepare for though.”

Under the Friday night lights for football, Enick is prepared to excel for Bethel Park. The 5-9, 190-pound tailback rushed for nearly 700 yards and six touchdowns last season as the Hawks posted a 6-4 record and advanced to the WPIAL Quad-A playoffs out of the Southeastern Conference. On defense, he switches from cornerback to strong safety in the secondary.

“I prefer offense to defense because I’d rather hit than be hit,” said the 18-year-old son of Boby and Kathy Enick. “But, I’m a lot more confident in my defense this year. At cornerback, I didn’t feel at home. I feel better playing at strong safety considering my size and strength. I feel I can contribute to the team.”

Metheny is certain Enick will contribute to the Hawks’ success this season. According to the BP skipper, Enick brings a lot of “unique attributes” to the table. Among those are his intelligence, initiative and leadership. “What a great kid,” Metheny exclaimed. “He has talents we don’t know about. He’s a prime example of getting involved and doing a lot of good things.

“As a football player, he’s good,” Metheny continued. “He’s hard to tackle. He’s not the fastest, but he’s got tenacity and that little wiggle that a number of good backs have. Plus, he works hard.”

This summer, Enick worked even harder to prepare for his senior season. In addition to his regular conditioning, Enick attended the New England Elite Football Clinic, partly to improve his skills and partly to investigate possible scholarship offers. During this trip Enick visited several college campuses. Bowdoin attracted him the most. Plus, the college produced not only a superb Civil War hero and governor of Maine but a renowned educator. Enick, like Joshua Chamberlain, hopes to become a professor at a university. “I’d love to teach,” he said.

Of Bowdoin, Enick also added, “I fell in love with the campus. It’s beautiful. And academically, it’s one of the premier (liberal arts) schools in the nation. Because he’s “extremely interested in playing football,” Bowdoin also affords him a chance to compete, almost immediately as the team graduates three senior running backs in 2014.

“Education is the most important thing though,” Enick stressed. “I’d rather get a good education and play at a small football program.”

For now, however, Enick is focused on the BP football program and the 2013 campaign. Although the Hawks do not have a lot of depth and will utilize some new and younger players, Enick expects a winning year.

“We have potential to be a strong team and have a strong showing because we still have returning players in key positions with a lot of experience,” he said. “I think we are going to surprise people. We have to focus on what we are doing and stay healthy,” he added.

By avoiding unsafe activities, Enick stays healthy. Hence, he is a role model for his peers.

“I’m not a risk-taker when it comes to playing with my personal safety. It’s not worth it. I want to stay alive.

“But you can’t tell people what to do,” he stressed. “All I can do is present them with an opportunity to hang out with me. Be mellow. Be calm and have a relaxing night.”

Zac Enick

Parents: Bob and Kathy

Siblings: Liz, Laura, Grace, Nathan. “They are all older than me. And yes, I am spoiled. They always teased me about that. Now I’m bigger than they all are so they don’t any more.

School: Bethel Park High School

Class: Senior

Sport: Football

GPA: 4.45

Activities: President of Student Government, Four-year member of SGA, National Honor Society, Worship Leader at South Hills Bible Chapel.

Favorite class: Chorus

Least favorite class: Math.

College choices: Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine

Academic tract: Major in French and minor in Music in college.

Career goal: Become a university professor.

Best teacher that you’ve had: Mr. Qualk. “He takes an extremely confusing and frustrating subject and turns it into a fun class in which you learn a lot about physics. Plus, he’s an approachable guy.

Best vacation: The three days he spent in Deep Creek this summer with family.

Twitter of Facebook? Twitter, because people live vicariously through Facebook. I don’t want to know everything about them. Twitter is a great way to get a message out. But I prefer hands off. I’m not addicted to it at all.

Best book: The Westing Game or any mystery novel. I like suspense.

Favorite food: Sour cream, mild salsa, avocado on tortilla chips.

Best beverage: The Naked Fruit Drink Juices.

Life lesson learned from football: Football has taught me a lot of good things in life. The sport has brought me close to other people. In football, you learn to get along with other people. You are with these people five days a week, 52 weeks of the year. You learn to deal with people you may not like. You have to set that stuff aside and reach out to people in order to accomplish a goal. You need that for everything in life.

Home Alone moment: When Zach was 12, he was left behind while the rest of the family vacationed in Paris. Hence, obviously, the City of Lights is on his destination list. “I’d love to go to Paris one day,” he said. “I’m planning to study abroad so maybe I’ll go there.”

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