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Derby’s Brock Zerger – Athlete Spotlight Presented By WSU Tech

Derby senior Brock Zerger had waited his whole life to become the Panthers’ QB1. With a state championship run in his grasp, a season-ending injury, though, was not in his plans.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking,” Zerger said when he found out that his season was over. 

Zerger suffered a left distal fibula break as well as multiple torn ligaments in his ankle in the state quarterfinal victory over Washburn Rural. He had surgery the following week, missing the rematch game against Manhattan in which Derby looked to avenge their season-opening loss. 

“The Week 1 loss to Manhattan definitely was a wake-up call,” Zerger said. “It made us realize that nothing this season was going to be handed to us. It definitely lit a fire in our team to want to continue to get better and dominate every week.” 

Being one of the Derby greats has always been on Zerger’s mind, but at the end of the day, all he wanted was to win. 

“Everybody dreams about their senior year and winning a state championship,” Zerger said. “After losing at state last year, none of us wanted to feel that feeling again.”

Zerger was a “do it all” player last year for the Panthers as the backup quarterback. He used his athletic ability to get on the field, thriving at blocking and wide receiver. 

This year, Zerger continued to show off his athletic ability as well as his skill at the quarterback position. 

Zerger earned second-team AVCTL I, passing for 1,123 passing yards and rushing for 1,083 yards while accounting for 26 total touchdowns. 

After dropping their first game to the potential Class 6A state champions, Manhattan, Derby went on a roll and won four in a row until they met Class 5A runner-up and league foe, Maize. The Panthers lost a heartbreaker 52-51. 

Derby still had high hopes to make it to the state championship game, though. 

“As QB1, I like to lead by example,” Zerger said. “I like to just lead my guys by doing the right things on and off of the field.” 

Derby caught fire again, winning four in a row before their meeting with Washburn Rural. 

The Panthers managed to keep Washburn Rural at bay all game and despite losing Zerger, won 36-21 to advance to the second matchup against Manhattan. 

Zerger found himself as a new kind of leader the week after he was hurt. He was on the sidelines but always kept his spirits up as he coached up backup Braxton Clark, son of Derby coach Brandon Clark.

“I still helped lead the team. I made sure Braxton stayed positive and tried to motivate him the best I could,” Zerger said. 

Despite Clark’s best efforts, he ended up getting hurt and Derby’s backfield sputtered all second half after they led 16-7 at halftime. 

Manhattan won 28-23 and then defeated Gardner-Edgerton in double overtime to win the 6A title.

Zerger’s story isn’t over, though. The senior has committed to Friends to continue his athletic and academic career with one of the up-and-coming KCAC programs. 

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