The Gatorade State Football Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the complete list of Gatorade State Football Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Jake Zembiec
School: Aquinas Institute (Rochester, N.Y.)
Weight: 210 pounds
Athletic achievement: He passed for 3,030 yards and 37 touchdowns this past season, leading the Little Irish to a 13-0 record and the Class AA state championship. Zembiec completed 184-of-269 passes and was intercepted just seven times. The Class AA Player of the Year as a sophomore, he broke Section V single-season and career records for passing yards and touchdowns.
Academic excellence: Zembiec has maintained an A average.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally on behalf of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, school anti-bullying initiatives and Muddy’s Buddies, which supports children whose lives have been touched by cancer.
“Zembiec’s got great skills and he’s a real competitor,” said Dennis Gilbert, head coach at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. “His progressions are fast and if you sit back in a zone he’ll pick you apart. He’s a nightmare to play against.”
THE FUTURE: Zembiec has verbally committed to play football on scholarship at Penn State University in the fall of 2016.