POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Sometimes the best things in life are unexpected.
On Tuesday at PPJSHS, senior Wyatt Pearson signed his National Letter of Intent to join the Concord University football team in the fall.
“It’s a shock, really it’s a work of God,” said Pearson. “Throughout high school, I never dreamed this would happen, I never even considered it. Even at the end of this year, after we ended in the playoffs, I thought it was all over. I was planning to continue my education, but I didn’t see football in there. Everyday that I play football in college, I know that it’s something that I never expected to do. If I go one day and something happens, I still made it farther than I would have ever dreamed.”
Pearson, who has been on the varsity team for four seasons, stepped into a starting role on the defensive line as a senior, helping a Big Black defense that allowed just 271 yards per game in the regular season. PPHS held five of its regular season opponents to under 100 yards on the ground last fall.
Eleven-year PPHS head coach David Darst noted that, like so many other player who have come through the Point Pleasant program, Pearson had to work while waiting for his opportunity.
“He was a good player, but he was behind some really good football players when he was younger in his career,” said Darst. “He kept working hard and kept plugging away, and all of a sudden the opportunity came. For us that’s the fun part, when we finally get to see that kid get his chance and get to do it.
“He’s one of those kids who has worked his way into a starting position here. He waited until he was a senior, and he had a really good year at nose tackle. He was one of those kids that was hard to move out of there.”
The players in front of him also served as motivation for Pearson, who noted the Big Blacks prior success as an influence in leading him to the game of football.
“I started playing in seventh grade after I saw Point go to the state championship,” Pearson said. “I thought that may be something that I want to do, and everybody said that I would be good at it. I gave it a try and fell in love with it. I played in seventh and eighth grade, all the way up to my senior year. I had to work hard at it, I never worried never worried about what it was going to lead to, I just played it to have fun while going to high school.
“My family has been there for me. Early on, when I was really unsure of how it would go, they told me to just work hard, do my best, and God would take me where I needed to be. Since I got here, the coaching has been great, they took me in and worked with me. I was in the weight room everyday after school for six years from seventh grade to senior year, working hard. They told me what I needed to do and how to get better, I did that and got better.”
Pearson noted that perhaps the most special thing about his high school career was the community support.
“Looking back and seeing the whole town up there, seeing my family in the stands and knowing that this many people come out to watch the game I love,” Pearson said of his fondest football memories. “I didn’t play it for publicity, it was something I tried and ended up loving. The playoff games were unreal, seeing the turnout from both sides, seeing how competitive it is and seeing how big it is to make it that far.”
Pearson will be joining a Mountain Lions team that competes in the Mountain East Conference and NCAA Division II.
Located in Athens, W.Va. Concord University is 150 miles from Point Pleasant, but less than a half hour drive from Bluefield, where the Big Blacks played twice last year.
“We went down to Bluefield twice and the coaches at Concord were watching,” Darst said. “They liked how low he played and how solid of a player as he was. He’s one of those late bloomers. We want you to play your best as a senior and he’s one of those kids that got to do that.”
Pearson — who holds a 4.0 grade-point-average at PPHS — plans on a a Biology major, with an eye toward working with wildlife.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.