Crusaders 3 catches turn coaches heads

Senior Zach Tarver may drop basketball to focus on football future

Zach Tarver's plans changed last November when Jesuit played Central Catholic in the second round of the state football playoffs.

Jesuit lost 42-35 at PGE Park, but three catches the 6-5 Tarver made for the Crusaders put him on the road to a college scholarship.

The catches went for touchdowns of 68, 54 and 80 yards. They were game-breaking plays on passes that could have been intercepted. They were receptions that would have made Randy Moss or Keyshawn Johnson proud.

Tarver, an incoming senior who had been chasing the dream of a college basketball scholarship, now has verbally committed to play football at Oregon State.

'I think football is where I have the best chance to be successful in college,' says Tarver, who also started for the Jesuit basketball team last season. 'That game with Central last year really opened my eyes to football.

'I hadn't been trying too hard in football up until then. But now I'm a football player.'

Tarver says he might even skip the prep basketball season to continue working on his football skills.

The Beavers will be signing a relatively raw talent. Tarver wasn't among the Metro League leaders in receiving last year and didn't make the all-state team. But his height, basketball experience and athletic family make him an appealing recruit.

His brothers Josh (a junior) and Seth (a sophomore) also go to Jesuit. All three played for the Crusader basketball team that finished sixth in the state tournament in March. Their older brother, Shon, played basketball at UCLA and was a pro player in Japan and France.

After the basketball season, Zach Tarver was hoping to hear from college coaches, and he did. But they were football coaches, not basketball coaches. He had planned to attend a high school football combine in Seattle but missed it. No matter, football coaches still called.

Eventually, he got the point, after playing with Portland's best summer basketball team, the Portland Legends.

'There's a lot of 6-5 basketball players, but there aren't too many 6-5 football players,' he says. 'That gives you a big advantage over smaller defensive backs.

'Everyone was telling me this. Even Shon watched me play a couple times and told me to think about playing football.'

Jesuit football coach Ken Potter, whose brother Gene is the school's basketball coach, says they spent the last year counseling Tarver on keeping his options open.

'He's a good basketball player,' Ken Potter says, 'but he has a chance to be a great football player.'

Potter says Tarver is poised to have a fabulous football season, partly because he's been working out with former Beaverton High and University of Washington quarterback Taylor Barton.

'If teams put one guy on (Tarver), we'll throw the ball to him on every play,' Potter says. 'We've got some other guys who can catch passes, and we have a strong running back in Mike Jones. Teams aren't going to be able to just keep their eye on Zach.'

Jesuit opens its season Aug. 29 at home against North Medford.

MORE FOOTBALL: The prep football season starts in two weeks, with a number of key games around the state on Aug. 29. Not only does North Medford play at Jesuit, but David Douglas is at Roseburg, Beaverton travels to defending state champion Sheldon, Sunset plays at Churchill and Hood River is at Centennial.

In the Portland Interscholastic League, Marshall will play host to Gresham at 4:30 p.m. Marshall is set to play just three games at 7 p.m. or later this season, a trend also common to Benson, Cleveland and Roosevelt.

SOCCER: Franklin has a new girls coach in Glen Whitehead, who is replacing Lisa Miosi, the PIL coach of the year last season.

Miosi took a job as a counselor at Wilson High earlier this year and decided that coaching a sports team at another high school wouldn't be a good fit.

'I hated to leave, but it just made sense,' she says. 'I'm not sure if I'll be coaching at Wilson, either.'

Franklin was a surprise team last year, reaching the state playoffs, where the Quakers lost 4-0 to Summit. Franklin has five all-league picks returning, including junior Alyson Reamer, who was a second-team choice at forward.

Franklin's season opener is Sept. 4, at home against David Douglas.

Contact Cliff Pfenning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..