Although we are in a new football season, the feeling of 2016 is fresh for Zach Weatherell.
"Yeah it was definitely really hard," Weatherell said. "I remember the first game. It was really just hard to watch. Because it's one of the biggest things I like to do."
The days of watching football from the sidelines are over for the Sacred Heart quarterback. Almost a year after a season ending shoulder injury, the junior is back. And if you ask him, he's even better.
"I'm really confident," he said. "I felt like I played to my abilities last year as well before the injury. I'm just glad to be back. I'm glad to be playing better than ever. Feeling really confident in all the weapons we have."
The stats back up Weatherell's confidence. He passed for over 300 hundred yards and five touchdowns last week in the Crusaders' 42-36 win over Richton. He's totaled 460 yards and six scores through two games.
Weatherell only played four in 2016.
"I'm just so happy for Zach because he really worked hard," Crusaders coach Lonny Schraeder said. "He trained in the off season. He just did everything we asked him to do. He's starting to show signs of hitting his stride. I don't think he's hit it yet but I think it's coming."
The rehab process was not only a time for Weatherell to improve physically but to tighten up areas in his game.
"Not forcing throws," Weatherell said. "A lot of my interceptions last year were just ...I was about to get hit and I'd throw it. It would be a bad throw...like forced. Pocket movement...having confidence in the pocket and my scrambling. I've gotten a lot better at that. More confidence really in the pocket."
Added Schraeder, "Just reads and just his mechanics and his footwork. He's throwing the ball a lot better. He threw some really nice passes the other day. It doesn't hurt that we have some pretty good receivers who can go get it."
Weatherell couldn't fully enjoy the Crusaders' historical run to the playoffs last season. With a clean bill of health and confidence in those around him, he's expecting nothing less than more success.
"I mean really like playing against Richton, I know their corners couldn't hang with all of my wide receivers," Weatherell said. "So a lot of those stats were just me throwing it up and them going to get them. I can do that all day because I have full confidence in all of them and all their abilities."