WESTFIELD, NJ — A lot is asked of a quarterback. A good quarterback needs a strong throwing arm and precise aim. He needs to be calm in the face of pressure, and to be able to make quick decisions in a matter of seconds. He needs to be grounded while standing before 11 opponents who all have the same goal — to knock him down.

With 52 pass attempts, 32 completions and six touchdown passes, this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week, Westfield High School senior Zach Kelly, shows he’s got what it takes.

Following in the footsteps of his older brother J.D. and his cousin Chip Mulrooney, Kelly began playing football at only nine years old. He didn’t start playing quarterback, however, until his freshman year of high school.

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A hard-worker, Kelly is constantly looking to improve himself, according to coach Jim DeSarno.

“He takes to coaching real well,” DeSarno said. “We are hard on quarterbacks, and he’s able to take constructive criticism and use it to make him better.”

According to DeSarno, Kelly is not only diligent and determined, but also thoroughly enjoys the game.

“He is able to work hard and have fun,” DeSarno said. “He makes the experience worthwhile.”

DeSarno added that Kelly “puts the team first. He competes very hard to help his team play at a high level.”

When he’s not playing, Kelly said that he is always mentally planning and preparing.

“I go over plays in my head and think about what I have to do in certain plays,” Kelly said, adding that he also tries to anticipate the other team’s defensive strategies. 

Looking forward, Kelly hopes that the Blue Devils will have a successful season and ultimately win a state championship.

Sarah Boyle is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAP into Westfield.

The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Located on the South Avenue Circle in Westfield, the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 15 years. Call them this week at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com.