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ABC 27 Scholar Athlete of the Week: Thomasville's Patrick McNeill

Posted at 6:37 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 18:37:42-05

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — After last year's loss in the state semifinals, the Thomasville High School football team is hungry, but focused, as they enter quarterfinal play this week.

Senior Patrick McNeill wants to make sure this team finishes on top in his final season.

For as long as McNeill can remember, football has been a part of his life.

"I've been playing since I was seven years old," he said. "I actually started playing center at 75 pounds for the YMCA."

Which, funny enough, is about the only position on offense he doesn't play now.

"Since he's been a sophomore, he's played every special teams," said head coach Zach Grage. "He's played a ton of snaps on offense. He's kind of got that Swiss army knife mentality, willing to do whatever he can for the team."

"The big part about Thomasville football is role-playing," added McNeill. "You have your football players who are called the dudes, but what really wins football games are the role players. If you can play your role, if you can fill in your spot, if you can do what you have to do for the program, that's what's going to win games."

A role player that had his moment last week, as McNeill scored his first career touchdown against Dodge County.

"That's when I knew there was something on it, when they were celebrating on the sideline," laughed Grage. "I thought it was just the first one of the year."

Hard work that's paid off and the same could be said in the classroom. McNeill has a 4.3 GPA.

"A lot of times you have guys like that that are really good in the classroom and never miss a day of practice, but they might not play a whole lot," said Grage. "Patrick's a guy that's played a lot. Started on varsity since he was a sophomore."

"Lots of late nights. Lots of doing homework and film, everything," said McNeill. "You just have to keep to it. You can't give up on it."

Keep grinding, just like the Dogs are doing on the gridiron.

Their goal this year? To finish on top.

"It's something every football player strives for," said McNeill. "It's the ultimate goal for anyone who plays high school football. Especially being your senior year, and going through all this COVID stuff? It's really big."

The ultimate goal, for the ultimate team player.

McNeill said he wants to play at the next level, where he wants to student something in medicine or in the engineering field.