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Former Mtn. View, Ducks kicker making comeback with High Desert Storm

(Update: Adding video, comments from Emerson, coaches)

Zach Emerson says: 'I've grown a lot as a human, as a person, and just really excited for this next chapter'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon High Desert Storm, Central Oregon's new indoor pro football team, is getting some High Desert talent.

The team signed former Mountain View High School star kicker Zach Emerson over the weekend.

Emerson is no stranger to the Central Oregon spotlight.

"That's just an incredible opportunity to play the sport I love and be close to home," he told NewsChannel 21 on Monday.

Emerson was a three-sport standout for the Cougars in soccer, basketball and on the gridiron.

Now he's coming back to play professionally with The Storm.

"It's been a long journey. There's been a lot of adversity along the way,” he said. “Ups and downs obviously, but I'm super-excited to rep Central Oregon."

The highs: He played for the Oregon Ducks after graduating high school in 2016 and started for the team his sophomore year.

The lows: He left the team in 2019 after being arrested in Eugene and charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

But his high school coach, Brian Crum, had little doubt Emerson would find his way back.

"That's the story of sports, right?” Crum said. “Life and sports are going to through obstacles in his way. Sometimes he created those himself and sometimes they came out of nowhere, and he's always fighting, even at Oregon."

Emerson came back to Bend this year after his attempt to continue playing college ball at Sacramento State ended when the team opted out of the season.

So he reached out to High Desert Storm Coach Keith Evans.

"He said, 'Hey, I'm a former Oregon kicker, and I'm interested in kicking for your team,’" Evans recalled.

Emerson did a workout with Evans last week, with a little help from Crum.

"I loaned him some footballs last week," Crum said of when Emerson told him about the tryout.

Evans was sold.

"Yeah, he's my guy, I'm not going to waste any time with any other kickers at this time," he said committing to Emerson.

And Emerson is ready to take things to the next level.

"I've grown a lot as a human, as a person, and just really excited for this next chapter," he said.

He'll be the starting kicker when the Storm open the season in May.

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.


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