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January 27, 2021

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Special Icon report: Donald Traxler tells about mile-high Zac Dysert

Donald Traxler attended the Denver Bronoco pre-season game against Arizona and files this report plus photos at the bottom of the story.

By Donald Traxler- Special for Ada Icon
Ada High School and Miami RedHawks Quarterback became a member of Denver Broncos 53 man roster after a solid performance in the 4th preseason game held at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Dysert played the entire second half as the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Broncos 32-24. The paid attendance was 75,465 with the stands clearly dominated with fans in Denver Orange.

Dysert's 94-yard drive in 6 plays

Following an Arizona punt on their first possession in the third quarter, Dysert led the Broncos on a 94 yard drive in 6 plays that consumed 3:21 off the clock.  Three running plays moved the ball to the Denver 30 yard line.  Dysert then completed three consecutive passes:  14 yards to Lamaar Thomas for 14 yards, 31 yards to Tavarres King and a 25 yard touchdown-scoring pass to Gerell Robinson in the deep left corner of the end zone.  With the extra point the Broncos had a 17-10 lead.

The Broncos’ second drive began at their own 20 yard line after a kickoff touchback.  Following two running plays that put the ball at the 17 yard line, Dysert connected with Lance Ball on a short pass to the left who made a number of nifty moves to take the pigskin 69 yards to the Arizona 14 yard line.  Three consecutive rushes by Jacob Hester including the 7-yard touchdown run up the middle, put the Broncos back on top 24-17 after the extra point kick.  It was a 6-play, 80 yard drive in 3:25.

Denver had five possessions in the fourth quarter but could not get the ball in the end zone.  Two possessions ended with punts and one ended after a four-yard pass completion and ensuing fumble recovery by Arizona. The Cardinals needed only three plays to go the 29 yards to pay dirt and a completed two-point conversion gave Arizona  a 25-24 lead.

After trading punts, Denver took over at their own 20 yard line.  After four consecutive incomplete passes and giving the ball up on downs, Arizona needed only three running plays to score on a 15-yard run and extra point to take a 32-24 lead.  Starting at their own 20 after the kickoff touchback, Dysert scrambled for eight yards sandwiched in between two incomplete passes.  After a four-yard completion to G. Robinson gave the Broncos a first down, Dysert spiked the ball to stop the clock at 0:29.  After an incomplete pass, Dysert scrambled for 12 yards to the Denver 44 and a first down, he spiked the ball to stop the clock at 0:05.  Knowing the Broncos had to try a hail Mary pass to score, the Cardinals rushed the entire front seven and sacked Dysert for a 10 yard loss and end the game.

For the game, Dysert was 9 of 20 passing for 163 yards and one touchdown.  His quarterback rating was 90.2.  He rushed 3 times for 23 yards and a 7.7 average.


What a wonderful experience, taking pictures in an NFL stadium!  Taking pictures of Zac at Miami, Bowling Green, Cincinnati and of course at Ohio Stadium was a personal thrill.  But to follow him to the “big stage,” an NFL stadium can only be described as “awesome!”

From the time I entered the Detroit airport on Wednesday morning until I returned there early the next afternoon, everyone I talked with were told that Ada, Ohio is the “football capital of the world,”  because we have the Wilson factory where all the NFL footballs are made.  Also the great colleges and universities as well as high schools use the Wilson football.

Also, these same people were informed that an Ada High School and Miami of Ohio graduate, Zac Dysert, was now a quarterback for the Denver Broncos.  Many were given a card to tell them to follow Zac’s career on www.adaicon.com.

After riding public transportation from the airport and to the Sports Authority Field station, I was told to follow the sports walk to the stadium and my nearby hotel.  No one told me it would be at least a mile walk in the 93 degree sun and I had no cap or sunscreen.

The “broncos statues and waterfalls” at the front of the stadium show the pride of their mascot.  Upon entering the team shop, the first two discoveries I made were so revealing to me.  Zac in his number 2 jersey was in the Bronco Year Book and his rookie card was among ten cards in a package with Peyton Manning’s card on the top.  Would they be selling these in the Team Shop if he wasn’t going to make the final cut?  It was confirmed on Saturday that Zac was among the 53-man roster!

To appear on the field as a photographer I had to report to a special room to receive an official tan NFL Media vest.  To make sure that I returned the vest following the game and press conference, I had to leave them my driver’s license.

As the elevator approached the press box, it was evident that the pre-game food was going to be excellent.  After finding my seat location, L1, and taking some photos of the field, I proceeded to the food area.  I ate slowly enough that I had the opportunity to meet a number of media writers and photographers.  One of the persons I dined with would play a very important role in the game.  Every NFL team has a man wearing a Green Cap and he is responsible to the NFL to make sure that everything runs smoothly on the field, to make sure all the media time-outs and the schedule is followed precisely.

Once on the field it was difficult to move around the team to the opposite end to take pictures.  You had to be constantly aware of the camera man on the sidelines who rides on a vehicle that moves with the ball on the field.  I tried valiantly to get a picture of 2nd string quarterback Brock Osweiler and 3rd string quarterback Zac Dysert when they would come to the bench following an offensive series to chat with starting quarterback Peyton Manning.  If the huge linemen block as well on the field as they did my view of the quarterbacks on the bench, the Broncos will have a great year.

Dysert was the last Bronco to leave the field as he had hugged family and friends from Ada in the stands and then signed many items for young Bronco fans.  His family met with him in a special area following the game and then accompanied them to the nearby hotel to greet other friends who had traveled from Ohio and Kansas to watch him play.

Legendary Denver Quarterback John Elway and currently Executive Vice President of Football Operations, has been quoted in the Denver media that he is grooming Zac Dysert for the future.  After visiting seven NFL teams at their facilities, Zac told his Ada High School football coach Mike Fell, that Denver is where he wanted to go.  He is working diligently and absorbing everything he can from two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, John Elway and Peyton Manning.

All of Ada and Hardin County as well as anyone who has ever met or watched Zac play wishes him only the best as he pursues his opportunities in the NFL.

Next on my “bucket list, to be on the field taking pictures of Zac when he starts his game as quarterback of the Denver Broncos!