The 2017 recruiting class is beginning to take shape, and while the QB spot looks to be thin, one of the more promising prospects in the class looks to be Willie Patterson of Franklin Pierce (Tacoma, Wa).
Patterson was voted first team All-SPSL 2A last season, but things didn’t come easy for the 5-foot-9, 160 pounder, as he wasn’t even the starter when camp opened.
“I was very shocked, but much honored to receive this recognition,” Patterson told Northwest Elite Index. “In the beginning of the year I was number two on the depth chart behind senior QB, but I worked harder, dreamed bigger and won the starting spot.
“Receiving this award really meant a lot to me. It really showed what I was capable of and gave me true confidence that dreams can come true.”
Franklin Pierce finished SPSL play at 6-1, winning the league championship, but it a loss in the play-in round of state ended their season earlier than many had thought.
“Losing to Kingston was the toughest thing ever because that season we weren’t used to losing,” Patterson said. “The thing about losing that game was that we learned from it. We made key mistakes that can’t be made in tight games. We also learned not to take it easy on a team that isn’t on your level, because you never know what the ending outcome will be.
“This year we are going into the season with a ‘leave no doubt’ mentality, which means that when we play an opponent we will leave no doubt who the better team is by the end of the game.”
For the first time since 1986, the Cardinals will go into a season with a new head coach. Longtime head coach Howard Lutton retired, and Franklin Pierce administration promoted assistant Mickey Aherns.
“To hear about Lutton’s retirement and Ahrens becoming the new head coach brought sorrow, but also joy,” Patterson noted. “Ahrens is one of the most positive, inspirational coaches I know, his knowledge about the game is incredible and I want to learn anything I can from him.
“Coach Ahrens brings a coaching style that I’m beginning to love which is a mixture of old school and new school who, doesn’t play around with his athletes grades and wants all of his players full effort and dedication to the team.”
Team unity and playing as one is a big talking point within the Franklin Pierce group this coming season. They are looking to repeat as SPSL champs, with a drive and desire to go further in the playoffs. They return a solid core, with playmakers across the board.
Alex Bing (’18 ATH) will be a key component of the Cardinal offense, and a player Patterson is quick to mention when talking about next season.
“Bing’s potential is very high,” Patterson said. “The guy had a breakout season this year and competed at a high level, by almost having a 1000 yards rushing on the season as a freshman. He really is a great asset to the team with always having a positive attitude and always having the strong work ethic and really isn’t scared of anything.”
Patterson loves talking about his team, and mentions Emmanuel Thornton (’16 WR) and Saul Lok (’16) as players to keep an eye on offensively, with Scott Vise (’17) and Diondre Abbott (’16) anchoring the lines.
Franklin Pierce is a team to keep an eye on, and with their you, could be very good for a couple seasons.