Foundation Academy senior running back Jaquane Patterson returned a kickoff for a touchdown and ran for another in the Lions' loss in the regional championship, capping an impressive season.
WINTER GARDEN When Jaquane Patterson suffered an injury to his left leg in the third quarter of the regional championship game between his Foundation Academy Lions and the Victory Christian Storm Nov. 18, it looked like the dynamic senior for the Lions might end his high school career watching from the sideline.
"When our athletic trainer told me I probably wasn't going to go back in, I started crying because I didn't want to end my senior season that way," Patterson recalled. "I just wanted to come back in and help my team."
Somehow, Patterson was able to get back in the game, and though the Lions ultimately lost 35-28 in overtime, it was a testament to the senior season the running back/defensive end had put together.
"He's a warrior — one of the best football players I've ever coached," Foundation Academy head coach Brad Lord said.
The Observer Preps Athlete of the Week for Nov. 14- Nov. 20, Patterson ran the opening kickoff of that same game back 81-yards to the house and also burst through several would-be tacklers for a 40-yard rushing touchdown.
"On the kickoff, I just came out heated — I did not want to lose that game, and I knew that if I returned one to the house, that could set the momentum for the game," Patterson said. "On the run, I just felt like Marshawn Lynch, running through the hole."
The overtime loss was devastating for the entire team — most especially the seniors — but Patterson said he has had time to reflect on what was, all-in-all, a historic season for the program.
"I'm happy with the way our team came together," Patterson said. "It was a good season."
Next up for the lifelong Winter Garden resident is to navigate recruiting.
"He's an undervalued running back at the collegiate level — he should end up playing FBS football somewhere," Lord said. "Right now, he's getting a lot of looks from FCS and some smaller schools but he's got big legs, he's powerful, he's strong and has a high motor. He's one of the reasons we've been in the regional final two years in a row."
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].