Former Eagle QB finds resurgence on the field

One year after surgery, Zamora completes career best season


Former Pleasanton Eagle Quarterback John Zamora saw his first collegiate playing time this season when he led the Hastings Broncos after missing last season due to a May 2020 knee surgery. COURTESY PHOTO | BARBARA BOXLEITNER

Former Pleasanton Eagle Quarterback John Zamora saw his first collegiate playing time this season when he led the Hastings Broncos after missing last season due to a May 2020 knee surgery. COURTESY PHOTO | BARBARA BOXLEITNER

Hastings College (Neb.) quarterback John Zamora had a career-best season this fall.

The Pleasanton High School graduate played in eight of the 10 games (2-8). He completed 60 percent of his pass attempts and threw for 1,233 yards and eight touchdowns, all personal bests. His two rushing touchdowns were a career high.

“The [team’s] record is a little bit deceiving,” said the junior, who has two years of eligibility remaining. “It doesn’t represent how well I played.”

Zamora missed two of the last three games because he broke the little finger on his throwing hand during a game. The finger was taped and he wore a glove while practicing during the weeks he missed the games. He was able to return for the season finale after being medically cleared and didn’t have to play with the finger taped.

“He had a really good year,” Hastings offensive coordinator John Grinde said. “He’s a really good pocket passer. He throws really well. He doesn’t have the strongest arm. He’s very accurate and on time with his passes.”

During the summer, Zamora said he worked on his mechanics because he wanted to “refresh.”

He didn’t feel his mechanics were right after consecutive surgeries. In May 2020, he underwent surgery for bursitis in his right knee, he said, and had surgery the next month because he developed an infection after the first procedure.

His performance showed his mechanics were on track playing for a team that ranked ninth among 12 Great Plains Athletic Conference teams in total offense, including ninth with 171.8 passing yards per game.

He passed for more than 200 yards in three consecutive games and threw two touchdowns in three games.

He completed 25 of 36 pass attempts for a career-high 248 yards at Dakota Wesleyan, tossing a four-yard touchdown and running for a 5-yard score in the loss. He excelled, despite pressure from the defense–he was sacked a season-high seven times.

That was not the first time he dealt with pressure, either. University of Jamestown sacked him five times in the previous game, when he completed 23 of 31 passes, including two touchdowns, for 239 yards and scored on an 8-yard run. “When he’s in the pocket, he’s definitely composed,” Grinde said.

Even when defenders forced him from the pocket, though, Zamora didn’t attempt high-risk passes when scrambling.

“He’s definitely smart with the decisions he makes,” the head coach said. “He’s one of those kids who doesn’t make the same mistake.”

Zamora said he improved the most in his reading of defenses. “I got two seasons to see all these teams play. They gave us a good look,” he said.

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