BY GENE NARDI
If you ask Wellington High School senior quarterback Shannon Patrick what his passion is, without hesitation, he will tell you, “All my life, football has been my passion.”
Patrick transferred to WHS over the summer from Forest Hill High School. There, he played his freshman through junior years.
The senior quarterback began his football career at the young age of 5 and has always played the quarterback position, starting with the Palm Beach County Youth Football League at Lake Lytal Park. Patrick still works with the league as an announcer on Saturdays during the season. That probably explains why he wants to study sports broadcasting or sports management in college.
Patrick’s family has football in its blood. His uncle, Kevin Patrick, was a standout defensive end at the University of Miami. Patrick’s grandfather played quarterback in high school as well, and provides support at breakfast before and after games throughout the season.
Patrick was an integral part of the Wolverines’ success this year. A team that had gone 4-6 the previous year and lost all four of its district games needed a boost. Patrick was an important ingredient needed to complete the recipe.
When practice started for the Wolverines, he met head coach Tom Abel and said, “Coach, I am going to be your quarterback.” Patrick said Abel just said, “We’ll see.”
A short time later, Patrick won the starting job for the kickoff classic against Olympic Heights High School, and then started every game for the Wolverines. Patrick admits that nobody really knew who he was because he wasn’t able to show his full potential in the past, but maintained he just needed the opportunity to show his skills.
Patrick earned the role as team captain. He had his best year as a Wolverine, leading the team to a 12-2 record, helping his team win the District 9-8A championship, post a 4-0 district record and make a regional finals appearance. It was the best performance for the Wolverines in the school’s 26-year history.
Patrick’s statistics were staggering for a high school quarterback. He threw for a total of 3,438 yards and 49 touchdowns. Those stats were among the highest of any player in the state.
“It was an amazing year this year. Coach gave me control of the offense to change a play if I saw something, and had enough trust in me to control the offense,” said Patrick of offensive coach Corey Clawson.
Patrick’s leadership ability shined off the field as well, picking up his team when things were not always running smooth, and keeping them focused when they were. On weekends, he would get his receiving corps together for timing drills to perfect their craft. “We were always watching film of our opponents,” he added.
The second game of the season against West Boca, Wellington suffered a disappointing 38-14 loss. “I told the guys, ‘We can’t let this happen anymore. We have to push through,’” Patrick said.
The response was a 10-game win streak, deep into the post-season, and an average of 40 points per game.
To top off the season, Patrick was nominated for a Lou Groza award as Player of the Year and said it was an honor to be nominated but that it meant a lot more to win the Groza Team of the Year Award. “That was the ultimate award, and awesome to be a part of,” he said.
Patrick has a couple of colleges interested in him — Jacksonville and Florida Atlantic universities — but hopes more will follow after his appearances in two upcoming all-star games, the Outback North-South game and the Florida-Georgia game.
Patrick reflected on NFL quarterback Tom Brady, whom he watched play over the years and is inspired by, because of the similarities. “I’m a pocket passer like he is, and he really didn’t have many offers out of high school, wasn’t drafted high, and it shows you can do something big if you just work at it,” he said.
Patrick, without a doubt, has made history as a Wolverine. With his determination and confidence, he is sure to continue his journey as a football player at the next level and is also likely to enjoy much success off the field.
ABOVE: Wellington quarterback Shannon Patrick rolls out in the homecoming game against John I. Leonard.