VanderZee hopes to lead Lions to 2nd straight title before becoming a Hawkeye

Central Lyon-GLR on verge of 2nd straight football title with #2 at QB this time
Published: Oct. 30, 2023 at 10:31 PM CDT
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ROCK RAPIDS, IA (Dakota News Now) -The Central Lyon-George Little Rock football team is trying to win back to back state championships.

So far so good. The Lions are unbeaten and ranked #1 heading into Friday’s 3rd-round playoff game thanks in part to the play of future Hawkeye Reece VanderZee who’s done whatever it takes for his team to win.

Zach Borg has more on our Karl’s TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week.


Football started with friendship for Reece Vander Zee. “Five, six years old, just out there playing with my best friends, just goofing around, having fun out on the football fields. I mean our group of guys, we’ve grown up together since we were babies.” Vander Zee says.

And one of those relationships with another athlete at Central Lyon/George-Little Rock high school named Zach Lutmer made Reece change positions. “We had to find our best way to get our athletes on the field and, him at quarterback, obviously he was an amazing player. I was a year younger than him, I had to switch it up. Definitely a sign that I could play at the wide receiver.” Reece says.

A sign the University of Iowa couldn’t ignore. An athletic force on both sides of the ball, Vander Zee hauled in 32 passes for 768 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, verbally committing to the Hawkeyes after landing an offer over the summer.

There, along with teammate Graham Eben, he’ll rejoin Lutmer with the Iowa football team. Together the pair led the Lion football and basketball teams to state championships last year. “Quite honestly I didn’t really think about playing football in college until a year ago. It’s just a dream come true to play especially alongside two of my other teammates there too.” Vander Zee says.

Before that, though, was the rather important matter of Reece’s senior high school season and a dilemma. With Lutmer graduating and leaving to become a Hawkeye, the Lions needed a quarterback. “I got to do what I got to do to help my team win.” Reece says.

“Obviously Zach was a huge piece of our puzzle but Reece has done a nice job stepping in. Graham is a year older and the biggest thing is up front we have three of our five offensive lineman back. You can tell that group has been together their whole life. (Reece) really just is influential within our team by the way he works.” Central Lyon/George-Little Rock Head Coach Curtis Eben says.

Central Lyon hasn’t missed a beat or lost a game, as Vander Zee’s devotion to the teammates who drove him to the sport.....“I’m a guy that’s gonna do whatever it takes for my team to win. If you need some to help you win a game, I’m going to do that for you.” Reece says.

....drives them toward a second straight state title.

In Rock Rapids, Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.