Bishop Canevin grad Trusky makes most of chances for Grove City football
Zach Trusky saved his best for last.
His freshman football season at Grove City ended with the Wolverines playing in an ECAC Bowl game — the team’s first postseason appearance in 21 years. The Bishop Canevin grad carried only three times, but he gained 52 yards and scored on a 10-yard run.
The TD was his first of the season, and the Wolverines needed it to hold off Morrisville State, 56-48.
“My first college touchdown in the bowl game … it was really something special,” the rising sophomore said. “The whole year, I was just trying to give my all, and to contribute in a game like that meant a lot to me.”
The bowl game was a microcosm of Trusky’s freshman season: caddying for featured back Wesley Schools.
Schools, a rising senior, carried 58 times for 359 yards and five touchdowns to earn bowl MVP honors. That capped a season in which he rushed for 1,741 yards — the third-highest single-season total in GCC history — and scored 20 touchdowns.
Trusky (5-foot-7, 175 pounds) was limited to 60 carries, but he averaged 5.0 yards per attempt and proved to be reliable in spelling Schools. He had a season-high 56 yards on 12 carries against Washington & Jefferson.
“Zach fit a much-needed role as a freshman,” Wolverines coach Andrew DiDonato said. “Wes has really carried a heavy load. Especially coming into this year as a sophomore and knowing the system, (Zach) takes a lot off Wes.”
Trusky admitted it was tough at first, going from being “the guy” in high school to a role player for the Wolverines. Rather than let it affect his play, he turned it into an opportunity to be, well, schooled by Schools.
“I ask Wes a lot of questions,” Trusky said. “He’s a real physical runner, explosive out of his starts. I feel like he’s been a good mentor for me. (I learned) the physicality of the game, the explosiveness and trying to gain all those extra yards. Turn 3 yards into 5 yards.”
Said Schools: “I just tell him things like, ‘Your job is your job, so do your job and not anything more.’ It’s kind of like a keeping-it-simple mentality. He’s always there to give me a break when it’s needed. I know he’s been working hard all summer to be the best player he can be.”
Barring something unforeseen, Schools again will get the lion’s share of the touches in the running game. But DiDonato said Trusky likely will be more involved — and not just carrying the football.
The coach said he can envision Trusky catching more passes out of the backfield — the one catch he had in 2018 went for minus-2 yards — and returning kicks.
With the possibility of having the ball in his hands more this season, Trusky might not have to wait until the final game to score a touchdown. And while the ECAC bowl was a nice reward for a regular season that ended with a six-game winning streak, the Wolverines are hoping this season’s final game is in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Grove City finished fourth in the PAC at 6-3, and though teams like W&J and Case Western Reserve might be tough to hurdle, Trusky is confident the Wolverines will have something to say about the conference title.
“Coach DiDonato has a vision for us … and that’s what we work for in the offseason all the time,” Trusky said. “That’s what separates us from some other PAC teams, because they don’t have a clear-cut vision of where they are going.”
Chuck Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .