The freshman in the brightest lights


Prasham Jobanputra

Ryan Zeltt warming up before a game against CB South.


This is not a usual chant that North Penn fans have yelled at football games in the past but this year, it was a normality.  After the starting quarterback got injured in week 2, the next man up to lead the Knights offense ran onto the field, #9 Ryan Zeltt.  And if you couldn’t guess, he’s a freshman.

Zeltt started playing squires football when he was 8 along with flag football.  Then when he reached 2nd grade, Zeltt started playing quarterback.  He continued to work on his game and develop his football IQ through the years and made the Knights varsity football team to be the backup quarterback this year.

In week 1 the Knights won 55-34 with quarterback Kolby Barrow having a solid game but then everything took a turn in week 2.  The Knights got blown out 42-6 by La Salle and Barrow went down with what happened to be a bone bruise on his left foot.  The Knights travelled to Pennsbury to face the Falcons where Zeltt got his first start.

Zeltt admitted he had some butterflies in his stomach saying, “I was nervous.  My first game I was like ‘Oh my god’ this is happening.  I don’t know if I did anything different.  I think it was just my mindset.  I was visualizing different. I was thinking different.  In school I wasn’t paying attention,” he said as he laughed, “but I was way more focused [for the game].”

The Knights won that game 13-3 as Zeltt picked up his first win.  He was the starter through week 9 as he went 5-2 in games he started.  Zeltt credits a lot of his success to Barrow.

“He was right there helping me with my reads and stuff and he’s really helping me on the sideline,” Zeltt said.

The senior, Barrow, gave his opinion on the young quarterback saying “I’ve seen him step up big for us.  Being a freshman he did an excellent job but even if he wasn’t a freshman, he still did very good playing quarterback, making some tough throws that you don’t see freshman make.”

Zeltt has definitely had his good moments but also his tough moments as well.  The Knights travelled to CB West and CB South in back-to-back weeks and with time on the clock for a game-winning drive in both games, Zeltt threw an interception to seal the deal for the other team.

“Those games definitely were hard to overcome, but during film, the coaches mentioned many things I could of done different and I try to really take those coaching tip into practice so I could keep getting better,” Zeltt said.

The Knights will open the playoffs on the road at CB South Friday and with Barrow back on the field healthy, Zeltt will return to his backup role.

“Since it’s playoffs, it’s gonna be a whole different atmosphere so I can just keep on being a sponge for learning.  Keep on learning as much as I can for my future,” Zeltt explained.

Being the high school quarterback comes with a lot of pressure as the entire community counts on the quarterback to lead the offense and team to a win, something Zeltt doesn’t mind.

“It’s great.  I mean we have an awesome student section at North Penn.  North Penn is such a great culture, it’s been a powerhouse for so long so just to be able to play there is great,” Zeltt said regarding the Friday night spotlight.

Zeltt might still be in the middle school for his school day but he has handled this situation like an upperclassman and it will be very interesting to see what he can do when he takes over as the full-time starter next year.

“I’m hoping he attracts all the eighth and ninth graders that are thinking of transferring from whatever private they want to transfer from because they want to come and be with this kid.  So there’s no doubt he’ll be the quarterback next year and we’re all excited about have him,” Head Coach Dick Beck said.