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Athlete of the Week: Zach Crim

(Editor's note: Throughout the local high school sports season, Culpeper Times will again recognize an “Athlete of the Week” from one of the sports on a rotating basis. This week we feature football. At the end of the year, the Times will select a male and female athlete at both Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools and recognize them as “Athlete of the Year” for their respective schools.)

There has been a lot of focus on the right arm of Culpeper County High School senior quarterback Zach Crim the past two years. He's been described as “rocket-armed,” “big-armed” and “strong armed.”

But there's more to the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Crim than his arm strength. His leadership and perseverance in the midst of a losing streak that has now stretched to 14 games over the past two years makes Crim the choice for Culpeper Times “Athlete of the Week” in football.

“He is the offensive leader of our team and, with Billy Hogan, one of our captains,” said Blue Devil coach Mike Williams. “He's a good athlete and he's starting to put up some good numbers. He can throw and run. The first game of the season he was our leading rusher. He's quite mobile and faster than a lot of people give him credit for. There have been several times when he has extended a play by getting out of the pocket and either running or throwing the ball.”

Surprisingly Crim, who has been playing football for seven years, has not always been a quarterback.

“I started out as a tight end,” he said. “I just started playing quarterback in my sophomore year. I like being able to throw the ball.”

Crim said he has played baseball most of his life but recently gave it up to concentrate on football.

“I played pitcher and third base and maybe that's where I got my throwing motion from,” he said.

Crim admits the 0-4 start for the Blue Devils has been difficult.

“It's been a challenge trying to get everyone on the team to work together as one,” he said. “I need to hit my receivers, they need to catch the ball and our running backs need to run hard behind lineman who are opening holes for them. Hopefully we'll get there sooner rather than later.”

College scouts have shown an interest in Crim, who is the right size to succeed in a major college program.

“I want to go to college, but I haven't decided where yet,” Crim said.

Crim said he enjoys English in school and hunting outside of school. But football is his primary focus for now. He recalled his favorite play of the year so far.

“Against Orange County (Sept. 7) I threw a deep pass to Nik Stewart,” Crim said. “He caught it one-handed in the back of the end zone.”

NOTE: Eastern View High School coach Greg Hatfield nominated quarterback Brandon Settle.

“He's very coachable and hardworking,” said Hatfield. “Very business-like and a good leader. He's quiet. He leads by example. He's versatile and runs the ball well, too. He's a dual threat.”

When the season started, Settle and fellow senior Brandon Layher were alternating as quarterback, but Settle has won the starting job.

“I work hard every day and it feels great to be the starter,” said the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Settle. “I come to practice prepared.”

Settle said he has been playing football since he was 6 years old and he has always played quarterback.

Settle said he enjoys running and passing equally.

“I feel safer with running and not having to put the ball in the air,” he said. “But I'm comfortable passing when I need to.”

 Settle said he enjoys both government and history in school and is hoping to play either football or baseball at the college level.

“I'd like to major in education or maybe be a meteorologist,” he said.
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