Eleven Pinecrest seniors will head to California to begin their college football careers. A 12th is staying a bit closer to home.
Lineman Blade Shoop headlined the Patriots' 2010 signing class on National Signing Day Wednesday by inking his name to a letter-of-intent to attend and play football for Fayetteville State University. The other 11 signees split their commitments between a trio of California junior colleges — Victor Valley College, Citrus College and Mendocino College.
"This is something we'll never get sick of doing, sending kids to college," said Pinecrest head football coach Chris Metzger.
The signees announced their decisions and signed letters-of-intent in front of an assembly of teammates, coaches, parents, friends and fans — even a pep band — at the Robert E. Lee Auditorium on Pinecrest's campus.
Metzger, the third-year coach who took over a program on a 20-game losing streak in March of 2007 and built it into a 10-3 conference championship contender in 2009, talked about each signee individually before calling them to the podium. Overall, he called the 2009 Patriots the greatest team in Pinecrest football history.
Signing with Victor Valley were Daniel Kieth, Damien Decatur, Phillip Hause, Fabian Wilkerson, Manny Sheppard and Darion Hailey. Signing with Mendocino were Jake Bebout, Harrison Deen and Connor Neville. Signing with Citrus were Brett Toomer and Jyhe Utley.
Metzger said four other players have yet to make their decisions.
See Sunday's printed edition of The Pilot for further coverage.
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