San Ramon Valley High quarterback Zach Kline took the field this season with the weight of high expectations.
He orally committed to Cal during his junior season after his first varsity start. He drew rave reviews and an invitation to the Elite 11 quarterback camp.
Kline's senior season didn't disappoint. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder threw for 3,630 yards and 36 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He also ran for eight touchdowns and helped the Wolves reach the North Coast Section Division I championship game, where they lost to eventual Open Division state champion De La Salle.
The effort made Kline the Bay Area News Group East Bay Offensive Player of the Year.
"I'll never forget this season," Kline said. "My teammates and coaches, we put together a great run. We achieved the goal that we set out for. It was just big success this year."
Kline showed a confidence on the field and a passion for the game.
"It's high school football. Every game's just a game," Kline said. "I just had to go in and just play and not really think of the Elite 11 and all that stuff. It's a blessing that I got those honors, but (I had to) just go in and play football and have fun and win games."
Kline and the Wolves beat crosstown rival Monte Vista in the playoffs for the second straight season, this year's win coming in the semifinals to send San Ramon Valley to the championship game at the O.co Coliseum. His best outing came in a dramatic 42-38 win over California in which he completed 19 of 23 passes for 337 yards and five touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown for the go-ahead score.
Kline's already preparing for his next step in college. He graduated early from San Ramon Valley and begins classes at Cal on Jan. 17. That will enable him to participate in spring football practice with the Bears.
"I'm going to hit the ground running with football and school," Kline said. "It was something that I wanted to do because at the quarterback position in college, it's a lot to know. You've got to know the playbook, got to know the speed of the game. You're the leader of the team. You've got to get to know your team. It's something that I thought graduating early would help with. I can't wait."