Power from peaches: Hardworking McLean brothers apply home work ethic to football
Their teammates and coaches like to tease brothers Zach and Luke McLean.
Even Palisade High School football coach John Arledge takes playful shots at them.
Zach, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior linebacker, is known as “Skinny” McLean. Luke, a 6-foot, 175-pound sophomore quarterback, is nicknamed “Fat” McLean.
“(Luke) got his because he’s like a fullback playing quarterback,” Zach said.
“(Zach) is one of our skinnier big guys,” Luke said. “He’s a lot stronger than pretty much everyone on the team, one of the strongest. That helps a lot because he doesn’t have that big size.”
Despite the good-natured ribbing, the boys are respected and admired for their leadership in yet another successful season for the Bulldogs (8-1).
“They are wonderful brothers,” Arledge said. “They are typical farm kids from Palisade. They are quiet. Their dad is a great guy. Their mom is a wonderful lady. They always work hard. They have a good life, but they were taught responsibility. They are great students.”
The McLean brothers developed their hard-working, responsible work ethic growing up helping in the family’s peach orchards.
“It definitely teaches you some toughness,” Zach McLean said. “Having to work in the sun when it’s 110 degrees out, you’ve got to do it either way, if it’s hot or it’s not.”
“It teaches you to do stuff even if you don’t want to,” Luke said. “It teaches you a good work ethic that you’ve got to finish things. If you start something you should finish it. You do it right the first time so you don’t have to go back and do it again.”
They have taken those lessons and applied them to football, and are enjoying their last season playing football together.
“It’s a pretty neat thing,” Zach said. “I’m lucky I get to play with him. Not everybody gets a chance to play with their brother.”
Zach has made 34 tackles and recorded two sacks this season. Luke has rushed for 803 yards and 14 touchdowns (89.22 per game) and completed 42 of 77 passes for 764 yards and seven touchdowns.
Zach gives his younger brother a little bit of grief for playing quarterback, but not too much.
“It doesn’t get in his head too much, but people definitely like him,” Zach said. “He’s definitely a good kid and everyone likes being around him.
“He gets a hard time (for playing QB), but he gets his share of yelling at, too. We all do.”
The rest of their brothers and coaches on the football field take care of that.
“I think our linemen are actually faster than the quarterback,” Arledge said. “If we were built on speed, Luke would not be the quarterback.
“We ask him why it takes him so long to throw the ball. He says he’s built for cold weather.”
Zach isn’t exactly built to play on the defensive front, but has the mentality for the position.
“I’ve gone against some big kids,” Zach said. “We work hard in the weight room. It’s just being stronger than your opponent and staying lower.”
“We have Zach at linebacker, but he plays D-line too,” Arledge said. “He’s tough, real physical. He has good feet. He plays a lot bigger than what he is. He’s a typical high school kid, but he’s physical for his size.”