While there, they two seniors are slated to reunite with a former high-school teammate.
LONE GROVE — Among East Central University's 39 signees, two are from Lone Grove. Ethan Moore and Marshall Zabonik confirmed their verbal commitments Wednesday, signing National Letters of Intent to play for the Ada-based university.
Zabonik said ECU projects him to play defensive end, on the weak side of the football. Moore said the Tigers' coaching staff will work to develop him as a middle linebacker.
“It's great,” Zabonik said. “I've done everything that I've been working for, for years. It just feels great.
“I feel like that's a lot of kids' dreams (to play at the next level).”
Moore is among them, players who have matured into athletes capable of continuing their careers in college.
“It hasn't really hit me yet,” Moore said. “It's kind of unbelievable because that's all I've ever wanted in life since I was a little kid, to go play college ball somewhere.
“I went on a visit and I just loved it up there. I love the facility, I love the coaches; it's like a good environment for me.”
First-year Lone Grove coach Trey Owens is an ECU grad.
“They did a really good job (developing me),” Zabonik said of the Longhorns' coaching staff. “He (Owens) coached me, so he obviously had a little bit of impact on me and my decision. It had a little bit, I guess,” of extra significance to play for Owens' alma mater.
Said Moore, “I wouldn't play anywhere else. I think we've got the greatest coaching staff around. I mean, we had a rough year this year, but I wouldn't trade coach Owens for anything.”
Zabonik noted that a lot of his friends are planning to attend ECU. “I know a lot of people and I just feel like I'll be really comfortable up there.
“It'll definitely be good (to continue playing with Ethan). It'll be good to have another four years beside somebody I've played for in high school.”
The Tigers football program wrote on Twitter that Zabonik is a “QB NIGHTMARE.” Of Moore, it wrote that he's “EVERYWHERE on the field.”
Zabonik and Moore have an opportunity to reunite with James Houchin, a Class of 2015 Lone Grove grad and rising redshirt sophomore.
“I'll be excited to get up there and catch up with him a little bit,” Moore said.
Added Zabonik, “He was really excited about me coming up there.”