Most of Brandon Patterson’s 2,093 rushing yards since the start of the 2013 football season are a product of his outside speed.
Then life as the Whiteland senior knew it changed Week 3, and Patterson has been maneuvering inside for the tough yards ever since.
A season-ending leg injury to tailback Shaw Cloud suffered during the Warriors’ 35-14 victory against Decatur Central forced coach Darrin Fisher to move Patterson, previously the team’s sweeper, to Cloud’s old spot.
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“I love Shaw to death. It was actually hard for me to watch that, especially it being his senior year,” said Patterson, who is Whiteland’s leading rusher (692 yards) and receiver (nine catches, 87 yards) entering Friday’s Mid-State Conference showdown at Greenwood.
“It hit me like a brick, but even though the injury stinks it’s given me an opportunity to be more versatile as a back.”
A track sprinter for the Warriors who as a sophomore blazed a career-best 11.04-second time in the 100-meter dash, eventually became accustomed to running between the tackles.
Operating behind an offensive line of Garrett Curtis, Jake Sayer, Tyler Johnson, Dalton Kratz, TJ Singh, Parker Blythe and Dalton Lowry, the 5-11, 183-pound Patterson has eclipsed 100 yards in three of the Warriors’ past five games.
Last week’s 17-7 victory at Plainfield saw Patterson carry the football 21 times for 156 yards — both season-highs — and a touchdown. He also snagged a 19-yard touchdown pass from Whiteland junior quarterback Jace Carpenter.
“We used to be strictly the fly offense. Now we’re starting to do more spread and throwing more. Now that Jace has more experience, we’re able to do that now, and it’s working,” Patterson said.
“If anything I will use my speed against people. I am a shifty back, but I will use my pads to try to run people over.”
Patterson played significant varsity minutes as a freshman in 2012, helping the Warriors to a 6-4 record. He’s been a consistent force ever since with 700 rushing yards as a sophomore and 701 last season.
“As the tailback you run primarily between the tackles. Brandon’s always had the ability to run with a physical style, but it was a matter of learning the reads. But he was ready to go and do whatever helps the team,” Fisher said.
“Brandon’s played in an awful lot of varsity football games. You know you can pencil him in and know what you’re going to get on a daily basis. He’s one of those players who makes his teammates better.”
THE PATTERSON FILE
Name: Brandon Patterson
Born: Sharon, Pennsylvania
Family: Mother, Carol; brother, Brian
Favorite TV show: “How It’s Made”
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “Gridiron Gang”
Favorite athlete: Hines Ward
Favorite team: Pittsburgh Steelers