There are a lot of things that make Patrick Anderson stand out from the crowd.
For one, the Spring Grove High School senior is ranked first in his class of more than 200 students. He’s also involved in many clubs and organizations at the school, including the Link Crew, which helps incoming freshmen transition to the rigors of high school, as well as the school’s mock-trial team.
Anderson, who also plays on the school’s football and baseball teams, was one of six candidates for the Charles Larson Memorial Scholarship. It's one of the most highly-sought-after awards for local high school football seniors in the York area.
Anderson received the 2018 honor at the Quarterback Club of York’s banquet on Thursday, Feb. 15.
Despite his strong qualifications, Anderson said he felt a little anxious about his chances.
“I waited a couple of hours, which was a little nerve-racking,” he said. “I was at home looking at the clock and it was around 9 o’clock and I thought that I didn’t get it. But then they gave me the call and I couldn’t say thank you enough for all of the help that they gave me.”
The award is named after one of the founding members of the QB Club of York. To be considered for the $4,000 scholarship, paid out equally over four years, a player must first get a recommendation from his coach before filling out an application. After that the player must then complete a group interview in front of the QB Club of York’s scholarship committee.
Six up for award: As was the case over the past 42 years in which the QB Club of York has awarded the scholarship, not every school submitted a candidate for the honor. This year, six players were put up for the award — Anderson, Sean Wolfe of South Western, Alec Kramer of Susquehannock, Zach Trone of Red Lion, Mason Figdore of Dallastown and Jacob Taylor of York Suburban.
While the scholarship itself is a welcome reward for Anderson, he also found the process, specifically the group interview, personally rewarding as well.
“Just to experience this entire atmosphere of a group-interview process was fantastic,” said Anderson, who has narrowed his college choices down to South Carolina, Duke, Georgetown and Penn. “Learning how to do a group interview is invaluable.”
Anderson was an honorable-mention selection at defensive end on the 2017 York-Adams League Division I Coaches' All-Star Team.
Overcoming adversity: While Anderson and his Rockets went through a lot of adversity during a 1-9 campaign this past fall, Spring Grove football coach Kyle Sprenkle praised the character of Anderson throughout his career.
“I tell our team that a person’s true character comes out whenever they face the most adversity,” Sprenkle said at the banquet. “And this past season, we faced a lot of adversity and Patrick is a great example of a person that has a very strong character. His character, in my opinion, is first-class.”
Beating a strong field: While Anderson was named the winner of the award, QB Club of York scholarship committee chairman Roy Robbins raved about all of the candidates that were put in front to the committee for consideration.
“I’d just like to say how lucky we are to have the kind of young men participating in athletics in the (York-Adams League),” Robbins said. “I have been very impressed, as has my whole committee, with the young men that are presented to us each year. And this year was no exception.”
QB Club of York president Ed Bender agreed.
“If we could record the young men that we interview, that is almost worth the price of admission itself,” Bender said. “It’s really amazing. We’ll get seven, eight or nine of them depending on how many apply in a particular year and we’re trying to pick a recipient. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have enough resources to give, like this year, six away.”
This year’s scholarship put the QB Club’s total contribution to York-area high school athletes at more than $300,000 for its existence.
Top players honored: In addition, the club also presented trophies to the offensive and defensive players of the year in Divisions I, II and III in the York-Adams League.
One of those honored was Division I Offensive Player of the Year Nyzair Smith of Dallastown, who was presented at the banquet by former Dallastown football coach Kevin Myers.
Myers announced after the season that he was stepping down from his position. Recently it was announced that Dallastown was hiring former West York football coach Ron Miller to replace Myers.
For Smith, who rushed for a school-record 2,087 yards as a junior, those announcements were first sad and then exciting.
“Coach Myers helped me out a lot as a player,” Smith said. “Whenever I did something wrong out on the field, he’d tell me what I did wrong and then I’d go back out there and do it the right way. And I’ve talked to Coach Miller and he’s a great person and I hope to learn great things from him.”
In addition to Smith, the other players of the year honored were: Division I Defensive Player of the Year Robert Rideout (York High); Division II Offensive Player of the Year Ay’Juan Marshall (West York); Division II Defensive Player of the Year Chase Heath (Dover); Division III Offensive Player of the Year Kyle Dormer (York Catholic) and Division III Defensive Player of the Year Zack Schussler (Delone Catholic).
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.