Athlete of the Week: Zachariah Frazier


Alec Willard-Herr

“I used to play for fun, now I kind of want to make football my lifestyle,” sophomore Zachariah Frazier said. He hopes to continue playing in college, and play for the NFL someday.

Olivia Galbraith, Editor

Sophomore Zachariah Frazier has been playing sports since he was a kid — basketball since he was in third grade, track and field since first grade, and football since second.

The 100-meter sprint and long jump are his two favorite events in track and field, and he said he has played a “little bit of everything” in terms of basketball positions, including small forward and power forward. 

But, football is his favorite of the three, where he plays running back or outside linebacker. “I’ve been playing it ever since I was in second grade, so I enjoy it more than basketball and track,” Frazier said. “I’m a lot better at it than the [others].” 

Frazier comes from a sports-oriented family, as his grandpa participated in both track and football at the University of Arizona. Frazier’s mom used to run track, and he also has a cousin who plays Division I basketball in California. 

Frazier got involved in track and basketball because of his family. “When I was younger, my brother and sister ran for [a] club team and I joined,” he said. His elementary school, Mill Park, had a basketball team that he played on, and “I haven’t stopped since,” Frazier said. 

He ran track for a club team called AAC in Northeast Portland, but is currently focusing on football, playing with La Salle. He said that he also plans to play basketball and run track with La Salle in the future. 

Frazier transferred to La Salle this school year from David Douglas, and said that he is “very happy” that he is playing with La Salle after seeing how the “value of an athlete” can be overlooked on his previous team. 

“I feel more… comfortable and I can play my best without being worried about being judged by a coach or not being helped or being confused, and them getting mad at me,” Frazier said. 

He also said that his teammates have been welcoming, and “they’ve been very good role models,” he said. “Helping me get into the offense, and just being good friends.”

With the pandemic, football practices look quite different than before — masks are worn, distancing is expected, and certain activities are prohibited. “It’s kind of tough, you know, because we want to be close… as a team,” Frazier said. “We can’t really do a lot of stuff, but right now we’re finally getting back into it. So it’s getting better.”

Frazier said the team is preparing to start having daily practices, usually around two hours long. Outside of La Salle football, he said that he works out around four to five times a week at home.

“Originally I was going to the gym as much as I could,” he said. But with the pandemic, he has started doing more home and outdoor workouts, as he has some exercise equipment to use at home. 

Frazier said that soon, as the football team is “picking up the pace,” they will be able to get some normalcy back for their team with the arrival of helmets and gear. “We’re all very excited to get pads and stuff and just play football again,” he said. “It’s been a while. We’re all missing it.”

“Me and my teammates were talking, like we haven’t worn a helmet in a year and a half,” he said. “It’s kind of weird and [the pandemic] kind of threw everything off… like having people supporting in the stands, you can’t have that. Playing football in March just does not feel right … we’ve waited so long for this moment, so you know, you got to enjoy it while it lasts.”

Frazier said that it’s “a real gift” to be able to continue workouts and continue practicing during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Aside from the struggles of the pandemic, Frazier said the hardest thing about football is “learning the plays, and knowing whenever to play close or play back, or just reading the defense or the offense,” he said. 

But he loves how physical football is, and the fact that it’s a team sport. “It’s very calming, and makes me feel good when I play football,” Frazier said. “I just enjoy it a lot.”

Frazier said that he used to play sports just for fun, but as he’s gotten older, improved as an athlete, and realized the “value of sports,” he now wants to continue to play football in college, and make it “my lifestyle,” he said. 

He aspires to play Division I football, especially at the University of Texas, with the ultimate goal of going to the NFL someday. 

To stay motivated, he said he keeps his goals at the forefront of his mind, and talks to his family, like his grandpa and brother. He said that his family and friends are his main support system, and have been supportive as he transferred schools and started adjusting to his new team. 

Frazier also said that his mom and cousin act as role models for him. “My mom has been through a lot and she’s been staying strong, [and] my cousin … he’s been strong too,” he said. “So I look up to both of them.”

For the rest of the season, Frazier hopes that the team will be able to go undefeated in any games that they are able to play, and has the personal goal of leading the conference in rushing yards and touchdowns. He also wants to manage his grades as he continues working towards his goal of playing football at a collegiate level.