Alex Zemach was at a crossroads.To borrow baseball terminology for the soccer enthusiast, he was in the hole 0-2 for Durango High School's three-strikes-and-you're-out policy.
Strike two, and Zemach had to sit out his junior season on the soccer pitch.
"It was disciplinary," the Demons' senior soccer star said Wednesday. "I wanted to play my senior year here with all of my friends. I wanted to have a good year with them."
Nothing was certain.
Best behavior was mandatory.
He turned it around.
"He really has," DHS boys soccer coach Scott Emrich said. "He missed his junior year unfortunately. He came back as a senior dedicated. He wanted to play. He did all the things necessary to make that happen.
"Second strike, miss a year. It was up to Alex to make the right choices."
Zemach got smart quick - good student, good season, good scholarship.
Zemach signed a National Letter of Intent on Tuesday to play college soccer at Colorado State University at Pueblo. He is one of three teammates to sign college contracts to play soccer next season in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
Nick Hofman and Marc Morris signed to play college soccer with Fort Lewis College.
Dustin Geist and Casey Stewart signed to play college soccer with Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Zemach makes Demon No. 5.
"It's nice to see Alex get aboard," Emrich said. "Technically, he's one of the best players on the team - tactically, too. He sees the field so well.
"Being left-footed is only going to help him out, too."
Emrich deployed Zemach at fullback, center midfield and outside midfield.
"His best place was probably center mid, where we didn't get a whole lot of time for him," Emrich said.
Emrich's personnel dictated that Zemach's versatility best be served elsewhere, where the player's left foot ended up at left outside midfield.
"I've always been a center mid, but I really liked playing left midfield this year," Zemach said. "This year, that worked out well for me."
Not that he's picky.
Zemach will accept most any position on the pitch so long as it translates into immediate playing time.
"I want to make the squad right away," he said. "I'm fightin' for minutes. I kind of want to get right into it."
"I think he made a good choice of schools," Emrich said. "He's got a chance to play, get in as a freshman.
"Pueblo was ranked in the top 25 last year; they're moving up. This'll be a real good fit for him. That program is coming on, doing good things."
Denver University was interested, as was RMAC school Mesa State.
"My tryout went really well (at CSU-Pueblo)," Zemach said. "The coach was cool; I really liked the team; they have a really good squad. I didn't even have to think twice about it."
Second-guessing hardly seems necessary anymore.
"He came back a leader. He grew up. He's matured," Emrich said. "He was such a good leader, at practice and in games.
"I think things worked out for the best in the long run.
"He's so passionate about soccer ... he's as passionate about the game as any player I've coached; he has a great love for the game.
"It's good to see him succeed," Emrich said.