Iowa Eight football: Spirit Lake lineman Zach Dykstra
School: Spirit Lake
Positions: Offensive tackle and defensive tackle
Weight: 300 pounds
Key stats: The anchor for Spirit Lake’s lines helped his team go undefeated in 2015 and win the Class 2A title. A right tackle for the high-octane offense and a defensive end in a 3-5 scheme, Dykstra played both ways and performed when it mattered most. The Indians took 94 offensive snaps in their record-shattering 70-56 final with Mount Vernon. Keeping up could be hard enough at his size, but Dykstra added countless pancakes and demoralizing blocks at the UNI-Dome.
Why he’s one of the Iowa Eight
Spirit Lake’s embarrassment of riches last season started up front. Dykstra pushed raw potential into massive production in his first full varsity season, leading an offensive line that was responsible for more yards and more points than any 11-player team in the state. He gained nearly 50 pounds from his sophomore to his junior season and has gotten even bigger and stronger since, developing into a solid three-star recruit and the No. 71 offensive tackle in the country, according to the 247 Sports Composite.
“I learned a lot last year about how to play the position better,” Dykstra said. “I’m still picking up how to do techniques and skills in more efficient ways.”
That he takes up space and causes problems defensively is gravy for head coach Josh Bolluyt. Spirit Lake has to replace almost all of its skill position stars but plans to rebuild around the offense’s right side.
“We try to get up to the line and move the ball around,” Bolluyt said. “Because he’s so physical, we try to set things behind him or around him. But he’s a good down blocker and reach blocker, so we can set the perimeter and get the power game too.”
A vacation to see family in southern Florida turned into a scholarship offer Dykstra couldn’t believe. He’s committed to Miami of Florida, where head coach Mark Richt and offensive line coach Stacy Searels drew him in.
“I asked (Bolluyt) if he could contact Miami to see if I could just go on a visit and see campus,” Dykstra said. “He did and they saw my film and offered while I was down there. I had no idea that was even possible, but it was really cool.”
Miami’s staff currently projects him as a guard, which Dykstra likes as a downhill run blocker. He chose the Hurricanes over offers from Iowa, Iowa State and some regional and FCS choices. Entering his second varsity season and still budding physically, it will be interesting to see how he develops against bigger competition and talent outside northwest Iowa.
“For a big man, he’s got incredible feet. Last year in games he started getting downfield and absolutely finishing blocks. He plays really physical. We started seeing that and knew he’d have opportunities to play at a high level. It’s been a lot of fun watching him grow.” — Spirit Lake head coach Josh Bolluyt
Other Iowa Eight selections
- Oliver Martin, Iowa City West wide reciever
- Tristan Wirfs, Mount Vernon offensive/defensive lineman
- Jake Hummel, Dowling Catholic linebacker
- Devon Moore, Waterloo West quarterback
- Rocky Lombardi, W.D.M. Valley quarterback
- Mark Kallenberger, Bettendorf offensive lineman
About the series
The Iowa Eight is the Register's preseason list of the eight best football players in the state of Iowa, weighing past performance and their projected future. Incoming freshmen through seniors are eligible. The team is selected based on Register staff observations and consultation with high school and college contacts. The Register will have additional Iowa Eight lists for key boys' and girls' sports throughout the year.