By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
You can say a lot of things about Josh Zamot, but one thing you can’t say is that Holy Spirit’s senior quarterback lacked for confidence. The St. Augustine Prep transfer thrived in the big moments — and there were plenty of them this year — and instilled a level of confidence the Spartans needed to be the type of team that could compete for a state championship again this year after falling short to Mater Dei in the title game last fall.
“I don’t think there is any way to train yourself (for tough situations). It just comes naturally. I’m a confident guy. I have a lot of confidence in myself and my teammates, and when we get put in those moments, I just feel like when the lights are on it’s our time to shine,” said Zamot, Glory Days Magazine’s football Player of the Year. “Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games, and as a team when we make a big play in that kind of situation it could be the one that wins the game.”
Zamot burst onto the scene as a junior at St. Augustine Prep after taking over for Jose Tabora, who now is a sophomore at Wilkes University. Zamot threw for more than 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns while also rushing for 550 yards and 11 touchdowns. After transferring to Holy Spirit for his senior season, some wondered if he would be able to duplicate those kinds of numbers.
“I feel like I lived up to the expectations — not only me, but our whole team. We had dreams of going 12-0, but unfortunately they got cut short. The one thing I’m proud of is how we played together through adversity. We did things that everyone doubted we could do. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to make it to the state championship game and finish on a high note, but, at the end of the day, the way we finished with pride and the way we played, I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” he said. “I progressed so much from last year. The game slowed down for me in so many ways, passing and in the run game. Everything just became so much easier for me, and my offensive line made my job easier as well. All the stuff I did in the offseason helped me, too. I was able to just be myself and play my game. I also learned how I could play under pressure. A lot of people freeze under pressure, and in a tight game let the pressure get the best of them, but I feel like I played my best when the game was on the line. I look forward to games like that.”
Zamot proved his junior season wasn’t a fluke, completing 64 percent of his passes this year for nearly 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns (against just three interceptions), and adding nearly 800 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. He also played safety in every game this year. He led the Spartans to their second straight West Jersey Football League United Division championship, and big wins over Delsea Regional, Pleasantville, St. Augustine Prep and Camden Catholic — all playoff teams — and a first-round playoff win over Gloucester Catholic. The Spartans’ state title hopes ended in the Non-Public B semifinals with a heartbreaking, 35-34 loss to Mater Dei.
Zamot counts a thrilling overtime win over eventual South Jersey Group 3 champion Delsea, in which he scored the winning touchdown, as his favorite moment of the season. But he had another highlight-reel play against Mater Dei, scrambling out of the pocket, juking a defender then hurdling another along the sideline to extend a drive that tied the game in the fourth quarter.
“That was a defining moment in that game. We had to score to tie it back up,” Zamot said. “That showed that I could make a play with the game on the line to help put my team in position to win.”
Before he heads to Stony Brook University next fall, Zamot will have to pack up a lot of memories he made with both St. Augustine and Holy Spirit teammates.
“It’s awesome, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to play for two of the top-notch private Catholic schools in New Jersey. St. Augustine and Holy Spirit are both big-time schools around here, and it’s been a blessing to get the opportunity to play for both of them. I’m thankful for everything that both schools have done for me,” he said. “I’ve only been able to be with these (Holy Spirit) guys for about seven months, but the time we spend together, it feels like we’ve been together for years. I’ve created a bond with so many of these kids. I became really close with everyone on the team and it’s a great feeling to know you have guys who have your back and love the sport just as much as you do.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays