Making up for lost time
STEPHENS CITY — Last year Brogan McPartland had to sit back and watch most of the season from the sidelines due to a broken leg. This year, the Sherando senior did his best to make up for lost time.
McPartland had dominant game after dominant game to make his senior season the best one yet.
“Going through that just made me cherish more the time that I do have now this season,” McPartland said. “Losing an entire season you feel like you have to make up for lost time, and that was one of my largest motivators this season. Knowing that I had lost a whole season, I had to do much more this season to prove that I was as good of a player as I wanted to be.”
The numbers that McPartland put up this season were phenomenal and showed just how strong of a player he can be. He had a school-record 19.5 sacks, and even more impressively 40 tackles for a loss from his defensive end position.
McPartland said his goal coming into the season was actually 20 sacks, but he was still very proud that he came so close to reaching the goal.
“That’s my favorite part of football — getting to the quarterback, getting a sack,” McPartland said. “That’s my focus. I’m always ready for a pass, and when it’s a pass I just try my hardest to get to the quarterback. Because to me that is the most important stat, especially for a defensive end.”
McPartland, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2014 Defensive Football Player of the Year, was able to get to the quarterback plenty this season. He said one game in particular stood out to him. The Warriors were in a battle with Kettle Run. The Cougars were led by quarterback Denzel Champion. With the game on the line late in the contest, McPartland was able to not only sack Champion, but also force a fumble, which sealed the win for the Warriors.
Of course, things were much different in his junior season. McPartland and his brother Killian transferred from Handley to Sherando in the summer of 2013. Sherando coach Bill Hall said that Brogan McPartland had a very strong summer working out with the Warriors and two impressive scrimmages.
Then in the season opener, McPartland broke his leg. McPartland said the rehab was tougher than he expected.
“I had never experienced an injury like that and I really had no idea what it was like,” McPartland said. “I figured the rehab couldn’t be too terrible because I had never really known anything like that, but immediately I realized I wasn’t going to be able to walk for months no matter what I could do. I didn’t realize how slow and grueling the process was going to be.”
McPartland said the toughest part was watching his teammates pile up win after win as they marched all the way to the state finals.
“Most teams don’t make it to the state championship game and the odds of going there again were very slim, so missing out on that was tough,” McPartland said. “The hardest part was being in the locker room after a win. Obviously, I was happy that my team was winning, but I was incredibly upset that I couldn’t contribute and I couldn’t really feel the same pleasure that they were feeling from it.”
McPartland attacked his rehab furiously and was able to play a little bit in the state championship game, but only on offense. He also suffered another injury in the loss.
Hall said it was nice to see McPartland have such a great year.
“”[After missing most of last year] to turn around and have a season like he had is a great reward for his dedication to maximizing his potential,” Hall said.
Part of McPartland’s ability to get to the quarterback comes from his IQ. McPartland came close to a perfect score on his SATs, and he wants to attend an Ivy League school in college.
McPartland is able to use his brain to help him on the football field. Hall said that after going over the scouting report, McPartland would watch the film and pick up things about the offensive linemen that would help him in games. He also knows just when to use the right moves.
“He has a large repertoire of moves that he can do, but that being said he doesn’t use them unless he needs to. If a bull rush wins, then he’ll just do that,” Hall said. “If he could just do a bull rush he’d do it all the time. He has the best spin move I’ve ever seen in my life — college, in high school. I’ve never seen someone touch his spin move. Now he only does it once or twice and when he does, it’s a sealer. He can seal the deal with it.”
McPartland said he’s tried not to think about the fact that his school football career is over.
“If I do think about it I’ll probably be upset to realize that I’m not going to walk down those steps anymore,” McPartland said. “I’m not going to see the horse anymore. I’m not going to play at Arrowhead Stadium anymore. It’s definitely upsetting, but I’m happy with how things turned out. I couldn’t always control everything that happened, but when I could I feel like I did a good job of capitalizing.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org