Zach Lutmer's sophomore star shines bright in Central Lyon
Zach Lutmer is a product of family tradition, a superstar multi-sports athlete mindful of the prowess displayed about 40 years ago in Adrian by his father, Mark.
Zach’s talent is one thing, but what really helps the sophomore at Central Lyon-George/Little Rock High is his lineage.
It’s also a heritage that once benefitted Mark, whose older brothers Jim and Mike, and older sister Leann, all paved the way so many years ago in Adrian.
Mark’s parents, Bob and Mary Carol, met at St. Adrian High and were also involved in their children’s athletics.
“You learn so much just by watching,” said Mark, whose younger brother Doug was also a fine athlete. “I learned very much just by watching my older brothers.”
Central Lyon-George/Little Rock fans already know much after watching Zach Lutmer. The talented football-basketball-baseball-track athlete is considered one of the top athletes in northwest Iowa. He recently led his football team to the Class 2A state championship game.
Mark Lutmer’s family includes his wife, Dana, and Zach’s older brother and sister, who are twins. Nic, who had a superb high school sports career and played basketball at Briar Cliff, is a police officer in Sioux City. Mackenzie, is a nurse in Sioux Falls.
“I learned a lot from them,” Zach said of his siblings. “Also a lot from having my dad coach. It helped me a lot.”
Teen-aged Zach is an accomplished all-around athlete. This fall he earned all-state honors at quarterback after leading Central Lyon to a runner up finish in the Iowa 2A playoffs. Zach’s season included about 1,600 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns, and 1,400 yards passing and eight TD tosses.
Blessed with excellent speed and leaping ability, the athletic Zach also returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
Justin Rust, sports editor of the Sioux City Journal, has covered several of Zach’s games.
“He reminds me a bit of Cooper DeJean, the OABCIG quarterback (in northwest Iowa) who led the Falcons to back-to-back state titles and is an Iowa recruit,” Rust said. “Lutmer is so good with his legs. He’s able to get to the edge quickly and can get down the sideline. He’s also able to read what teams are going to leave in the middle if he wants to take the RPO (run-pass option) up the middle for a run.
“It will be fun to watch him progress as a passer and as a quarterback in general. He has a lot of potential and looks to be a special athlete.”
Folks said the same things about Mark Lutmer back in the day in Adrian.
“He has some advantages,” Mark said. “We’re a sports family. And anytime you have an older brother you tag along. His older brother worked with him a lot and so did I a little bit.
“Zach sees the basketball court and the football field real well, and he understands the game. The games are not too quick for him at this point. He really had a tremendous year this fall.”
Then Mark laughed.
“His speed definitely didn’t come from his dad, I’ll tell you that,” Mark said.
Dana (Sieperda) Lutmer is a Rock Rapids native who played basketball and was a state meet qualifier in track in high school.
“She’s probably my No. 1 supporter,” Zach said. “She brings me a lot of places that a lot of moms wouldn’t. She’s always there for me.”
Zach, a 6-footer, averaged about 16 points, five assists and seven rebounds as a freshman point guard last winter. The Central Lyon-George/Little Rock basketball team won about half its games in the Siouxland Conference, a 2A league. That’s the second-highest classification in Iowa.
“It’s an elite conference, a tough conference,” Mark said.
When his team gets a rebound, said Mark, Zach and the boys are on the run.
“There’s a fine line between hogging the ball and sharing the ball (on the break),” said Mark. “He does a real nice job of getting others involved.”
To be sure, Zach’s father has always been involved in his son’s career, often as a coach. Mark is currently an assistant basketball coach at Central Lyon.
How has that been for Zach?
“My dad is a hard-working coach and he demands you work just as hard,” Zach said. “No slacking, you know? That’s kind of how it is at the house, too. It’s always about doing your chores.”
Mark is not above disciplining his son, of course, either on the athletic field or at home.
“He gets on my case a little bit sometimes,” said Zach with a laugh.
Mark was a fine football, basketball and baseball player at Adrian, graduating in 1982. His senior year the Dragons of coach Randy Strand were 8-1 on the football field. The basketball team, coached by Dean Schnaible, finished 20-2 and lost to Pipestone in the District 8 championship game.
Mark, who could play inside and out on the basketball floor, then had an excellent two-year career on the hoop team at Worthington Community College (now Minnesota West) while playing first for Arlo Mogck and then Marty Gillespie.
“I learned an awful lot from all my coaches,” Mark said. “And I got this from my parents: Whatever you do, give it 100 percent. I’ve tried to instill that in my family.
“I didn’t care if I scored 1 point or 25, how we did as a team is what matters. We’ve always tried to improve”
Zach’s paternal grandparents still live in Adrian. Zach knows all about the illustrious sports history of the small southwest Minnesota town. A lifelong native of Rock Rapids, Iowa, and thus likely an Iowa Hawkeye fan, Zach was asked if he ever wonders what it might have been like to grow up in Adrian.
“I’m actually a Minnesota (Gopher) fan,” he said with another chuckle. “It’d be a lot different, growing up in Adrian. I like Rock Rapids a lot, but I think living in Adrian would be pretty cool, too. Yeah.”
The final football game left a bitter taste for the Central Lyon-George/Little Rock athletes. Zach has two more years to change that.
“It gives us some extra motivation, for sure,” Zach said. “Coming into the season we didn’t even know we were going to have one, but then getting that far was a pretty good accomplishment for us. But we want more.”