There are times Patrick Palmer probably wishes his days came equipped with a 25th and 26th hour.
Aside from maintaining a 3.5 grade-point average, the Franklin Community High School senior is on the verge of closing
out an athletic career in which all eight varsity letters were won during the fall season.
Four as a forward for the Grizzly Cubs’ soccer program, four as a placekicker in football.
In this era of athletic specialization, it’s not uncommon for a boys soccer player to try both sports for a year, two years at most, with the truly bold going for three.
Palmer is the rare exception.
“My mom said she wanted me to enjoy the high school experience, and one day my dad took me out to some random park to kick the football. It was so much fun,” Palmer said. “Playing soccer all these years allowed me to adapt fairly quickly.”
Palmer is a soccer player playing football — not the other way around. He’s played competitively since age 5, whereas the pigskin bug didn’t officially bite until the summer bridging his eighth-grade and freshman years.
In soccer, Palmer led Franklin to a 13-3-1 record by generating team-best numbers in both goals (26) and points (63). The Grizzly Cubs were ousted Oct. 9 by Martinsville in the opening semifinal match at the Center Grove Sectional, which allowed Palmer to focus solely on his football duties.
As Franklin readies itself for tonight’s regular-season finale at Decatur Central, Palmer has made good on 6 of 13 field goal attempts and split the uprights on 28 of 29 point-after kicks. His 46 points ranks him first among the six Johnson County kickers.
“He’s got a very strong leg and does everything we’ve asked of him, whether it’s an onside kick or kicking off deep,” said Franklin football coach Adam Reese. “Patrick is about as dependable as anyone I’ve ever been around. A very nice kid who has worked very hard. Even on days when I’ve told him he didn’t have to be here, he shows up.”
The athleticism needed to factor into soccer matches the way Palmer has during his high school career could make him a factor in football as something other than kicker.
He’s reminded his football coaches of this.
“Now that soccer is over, I would like for the coaches to get me more involved. Maybe a wide receiver,” Palmer said. “But I’ve had an amazing experience playing both sports and wouldn’t trade it for anything. They’re just fun.”