Lake Braddock receiver Matt Zanellato had something to prove after transferring from Robinson prior to his senior year, and the he intended to silence his critics.
If putting up big numbers in the Bruins’ powerful spread offense wasn’t enough, Zanellato’s doozy of a weekend might have done the trick.
The receiver verbally committed to Penn State on Friday and then caught 10 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns during Lake Braddock’s 56-18 win over Chantilly in the region championship game on Saturday.
"Getting the offer [from Penn State] and winning the region is really big to me and my family," Zanellato said, "to put an end to all the naysayers who said I shouldn’t have transferred and said I made a mistake."
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Zanellato said he fell in love with Penn State while visiting with his brother, who attends the university.
Zanellato’s move from Robinson’s ground-oriented Wing-T offense to Lake Braddock’s receiver-friendly spread attack led to some big-time pass-catching numbers. Zanellato has 86 receptions for 1,588 yards and 19 touchdowns through 13 games. On Saturday, he caught two more touchdown passes, including a 27-yarder that gave Lake Braddock a 28-3 lead in the second quarter.
"I knew Matt was getting down the field and he had the height advantage on his corner," said quarterback Michael Nebrich, who got hit after the throw and was lying on his back when Zanellato scored. "Once I felt the pressure I knew I just had to throw it up to him and he was going to make a play and he did. I actually thought I threw it out of bounds at first. When I heard the crowd go crazy [I knew something good happened]. I didn’t even know he had a touchdown until I got up. That’s just a great play by Matt."
Scouts Inc. gives Zanellato a grade of 45 out of 100 on ESPN.com. Athletes are also rated on a 1-5 scale, with five-star recruits being the nation’s elite. Zanellato did not receive a star as he is below the minimum rating of 55. ESPN Recruiting writes an athlete with a rating of 55-67.9 "does not show the physical tools or skill set at this point to project at the major college level, but could contribute at mid-major or FCS programs."
Zanellato did receive three stars for an average "user rating."
Lake Braddock will host Battlefield on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 3:30 p.m., in the Group AAA Division 6 state semifinals.