University football: Joey Zigman answers call to help lead Preppers past Shaw

·3 min read

Sep. 17—With starting quarterback Jackson Boland sidelined with an injury, the University football team had to make the call to the bullpen for its Week 5 game against Shaw.

Unbeknownst to Coach Ben Malbasa, the bullpen was at the SNPJ Recreation Center in Kirtland. That's where Malbasa located senior Joey Zigman, summoning the former signal-caller to come help his schoolmates while regular starter Boland was on the shelf.

Zigman, who stepped away from football this year to concentrate on baseball, responded by throwing two touchdown passes and running for another in University's 59-22 win over Shaw. The win puts the Preppers' record at 4-1 heading into a Week 5 showdown against undefeated Gilmour.

"I was camping with my extended family at SNPJ and Coach tested me, 'Hey, you got some time to talk?'" Zigman said of the text last Saturday, six days before University's game against Shaw. "I got called out of the bullpen I guess."

Zigman made his first appearance at practice on Sept. 12 — the first time he had touched a football since the final game of the 2021 season.

Malbasa said the call to Zigman was necessitated because other quarterbacks on the University roster are young and inexperienced.

"Joey knew we needed his help. He's an awesome kid," Malbasa said. "He and Jackson are great friends, so Joey said 'I'll help.' We got him ready all week and he did a nice job for us. What a great young man to do that."

Zigman threw touchdown passes to Sammy Martin and Brad Kellon II to stake the Preppers to the early 15-8 lead. Ryan Pattison ran for three scores, Mikey Malone scored his first varsity touchdown and Finn Hanna also ran one in for US. Zigman added a one-yard plunge in the fourth.

Zigman said he loves football, but realized his college future was in baseball, hence his departure from the football team. He said returning to the gridiron stirred his competitive nature.

"It's a pretty new playbook, but we've got a great coaching staff and I love my guys," Zigman said. "Tyler Eden, our new offensive coordinator, was there for me all week. They made it easy for me. They didn't dial back the game plan much. They trusted me to make plays. I'm glad they did."

When asked about Boland's availability in the future, particularly this week's grudge match against Gilmour, Malbasa simply said, "We'll see." He termed Boland as being day-to-day.

He is pleased with the 4-1 start.

"The attention to detail in this group is better than any attention to detail I've seen in a group in a long time," Malbasa said. "We've come a long way. We're not where we want to be and we're not where we're going to be, but thank heaven we're not where we were."

Like being a team without a quarterback. That is until the call to the bullpen was made.

"I knew I'd miss it," Zigman said. "I'm just glad I could be there for my guys. I just loved being out there. It's great to be back."