Zach Goodline made a deep impact on Coloma athletics, reaching several milestones as a two-sport athlete.
On the basketball court, he scored more than 2,000 career points as a four-year starter. On the football field, he helped the Comets break a 10-year playoff drought. With a drive to succeed and elevate not only his game but the performance of his teammates, Goodline is the 2019 Herald-Palladium Senior Male Athlete of the Year.
“The best thing about Zach is that he makes his teammates better,” Coloma football coach Joe Stephens said. “He makes whatever program he’s part of better. His stats speak for themselves but what they won’t tell you is what kind of teammate he has been.”
Goodline is a seven-time varsity letter winner and has always been a natural leader, according to his coaches. But it wasn’t until his senior year that he really pushed himself in that role.
“His senior year was about what he did in practice,” former Comets basketball coach Paul Marfia said. “His first three years he was a main player for us, but he didn’t practice that way. (This) year he did a tremendous job getting the most out of the kids we had.
“You want people that have talent and ability. But you can also make people better? That says a lot about you as a person and Zach did that. He was tremendous on doing those things. We tried to find ways to highlight what he brought to the table, which was a lot of things. I’ve never had a kid as talented as he is and as selfless as he is.”
Goodline showed unquestionable talent on the basketball court. He holds seven Michigan High School Athletic Association records which include total career points (2,204), most 3-pointers scored in a single season (81 as a sophomore), and total 3s scored in a career (253).
He adds MHSAA free-throw champion to his list of basketball accomplishments, winning the contest at Michigan State’s Breslin Center as a junior.
“I lost my first year and got second place,” he said. “I got another chance last year and got first place, and that’s where experience comes in. The first time I was nervous shooting at the Breslin. The second time I was relaxed. I’ve shot a hundred-million free throws in my life, and I just pictured that I was back home in Coloma.”
Another crowning achievement for his senior year includes winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore Division with his brother Drew.
“Seeing (Drew) hit shots when I pass to him or getting a 30-point game is something I wish I could carry into college,” Goodline said. “I love playing with my brother. Coach Marfia has taught me a lot about mental toughness, physical toughness. I’m a leader for our guys and we go into games to win, not to keep it close but to win. We might not be the most talented team, but I think we’ve been one of the toughest teams in the area.”
Goodline was equally impressive on the football field. In his final year he crossed the 1,000 yard marker in both passing and rushing. He finished with 1,022 passing yards and had 1,002 rushed yards, bringing his career total yardage to 4,374.
Goodline rushed for 69.5 yards per game. He produced 52 touchdowns as a starting quarterback.
“He gets a ton of yards and touchdowns in football, but it could have been more if he was concerned with just scoring and taking care of himself,” Stephens said. “He makes the right play for the team, not just the right play for himself.”
The Comets have struggled for a decade in getting into the postseason. They came close in 2017, but lost a tight game against Kalamazoo United to get in. This past season, however, Coloma was able to push through for a playoff berth.
“I attribute it to Zach’s leadership skills,” Stephens said about his team making the postseason. “He’s brought guys with him and he has made a lot of guys believe in what we are doing here. That’s a neat way for him to go out, with that playoff berth against a really tough schedule.”
While basketball is clearly his best sport, Goodline’s memories from football will be hard to forget.
“Getting a chance to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years is a great feeling,” he said. “Basketball is my main sport, but in football, winning a big game with your team on a Friday night is a feeling that can’t be beaten.
“There is a team atmosphere there. They guys have always looked up to me as a leader. I just want to give guys confidence. You believe in them and they will believe in themselves.”
Self-belief drove Goodline to seek top competition at the college level. He accepted an offer to play NAIA basketball at Huntington University in January but backed out of the offer, choosing instead to play at Oakland University as a preferred walk-on.
“It’s my dream to play at the Division I level,” he said. “To play against people I grew up with and watched, and to play on national TV. The bigger stage is what I thrive off of.
“Playing at Oakland, the stage gets bigger and the stage gets brighter. That’s where I want to showcase my talent.”
Goodline said he plans to study journalism and marketing. His decision to play at a bigger school sits well with Marfia.
“He’s going to get tested at the next level,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how he responds. He’s going to get tested more than he’s ever been tested before. Hopefully we will see more growth out of him.
“He’s always bet on himself. He always wanted the opportunity. It was a hard decision. It’s a risk because he’s going to take on tough competition, but he will rise to it because he has a tough character. I think good things are going to happen for him. He will represent himself, his family and Coloma well. We will be rooting for him.”
Contact: acrider@TheHP.com, 932-0371, @HPAaronCrider