Zac Dysert and Vince Koza talk Friday night on 93.1 TheFan.
Zac Dysert and Vince Koza talk Friday night on 93.1 TheFan.

By Cort Reynolds

Staff Writer

ADA - A large crowd of family, friends and supporters came to salute Ada native Zac Dysert Friday evening in a send-off event at El Campo Restaurant before he packs up and heads to training camp with the Denver Broncos in Inglewood, Colorado Tuesday, July 23.

"I'm very close to my family so to have their support means a lot to me," said Dysert.

Dysert was interviewed live at El Campo by Lima sports personality Vince Koza on ESON affiliate 93.1 FM The Fan radio from 5:15 to 7 p.m. He answered many questions while the host also talked to some of his former Bulldog coaches and locals.

Ada mayor Dave Retterer kicked off the evening by re-reading the proclamation for "Zac Dysert Day" held at Miami (Oh.) University in November of 2012.

"It's really exciting for a village of 3,400 people (6,000 including college students) to have someone going to the NFL," said Retterer. "Zac, you brought six thousand new fans to the Denver Broncos. You are a source of pride for the people of Ada."

"Thank you, it's an honor," Dysert responded. "I try to make Ada proud and not forget where I came from."

After a standout three-sport career at Ada where he fired 100 touchdowns, he broke Findlay native Ben Roethlisberger's Miami school record by throwing for 12,013 yards. He was then selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft by Denver with the 234th pick.

Dysert was projected to be picked higher and the drama of waiting to hear his name called, not to mention what city he would be heading to, was a lot to handle over the three-day draft.

Finally, near the end of the third day his name was called by the Broncos, who feature aging future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning at quarterback and former superstar signal-caller John Elway atop the front office regime.

"I was praying; it was really hard to just sit there and wait for my name to be called," he admitted. "My agent and me decided it was better to drop in the draft and go to the right team than be drafted early and go to the wrong team."

Denver only has two quarterbacks on their active roster, Manning and 6-8 second-year QB Brock Osweiler out of Arizona State, so Dysert has a very good shot at making the roster.

"It's hard not to think about what is ahead," said Dysert. "I am very excited about the opportunity."

Koza then interviewed new Bulldog athletic director Ken Jochims, who has been a coach and teacher at Ada for several years, on the air.

Jochims coached Dyert for four years in varsity baseball. "I thought he had a lot of potential in many sports to be a major league player," said Jochims of his former strong-armed catcher/pitcher.

"It's real exciting to think you might have played a small part in his success," he continued. "Zac played a big role in the turnaround of Ada sports."

"I definitely considered pursuing baseball as a career," said the 6-3.5 Dysert, who was also a good hockey prospect and had played the ice sport since age four on travel teams in Findlay.

Dysert noted that coach Mike Fell changed his mind from hockey to football when he arrived after his sophomore season in 2005.

Fell guided Ada to seven straight playoff appearances from 2007-13 before stepping down earlier this year to return to his alma mater of Lima Senior as head coach.

But his tenure of success started with Dysert's ascension to all-state QB status. Zac led the Bulldogs to the Div. VI state semifinals in 2007. But all that may not have even happened if not for Fell.

Dysert revealed that his frustration with the gridiron game was so great that "I had quit football after my sophomore year to play hockey, so having coach Fell come here meant everything."

Fell admitted he did not know Zac was about to stop playing football when he took over the Bulldog program. By chance, he ran into Dysert's mother Carla and sister Heather at Northern on Main when he was first interviewing for the job. Carla introduced herself after the coach mentioned Zac's photo from the local paper on the wall there, they hit it off and the rest is Ada football history.

"When I first met Zac, I knew by the way he threw the football and how quickly the ball came out of his hand and with such effortless force that he would be playing on Sundays," said Fell, himself a former QB at Lima Senior and in college at Ashland.

"His throwing ability reminded me of being on the field and seeing Ken Anderson and Turk Schonert of the Cincinnati Bengals throw the ball."

Fell noted that Dysert endured a difficult situation at Miami in that the RedHawks featured three different head coaches during his five years there.

"That the players voted Zac as the only three-time captain ever at Miami shows what they think of him as a leader," said Fell.

Dysert noted that the mile-high altitude of Denver "got to me" when he first went out to the Colorado capital this spring.

"It takes about two weeks to get used to it, then it is ok," he said. "But it is a good home field advantage."

Dysert noted that he has had a weight limit of 224 pounds set for him by Denver. His main competition for a roster spot figures to be fellow rookie Ryan Katz, a 6-1 scrambler from San Diego State who was undrafted.

Dysert will have two great QBs to learn from in Manning and Elway, so if he stays healthy there is a good chance he can work his way into significant playing time after Manning retires.

Dnever opens its exhibition slate Thursday, August 8 at defending NFC champion San Francisco. The Broncos were 13-3 last season, winning the AFC West crown before losing to eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore 38-35 in double overtime.