South Effingham High School

SEHS’ Brown, Simmons headed north to Norwich

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May 18, 2016

By Patrick Donahue

It’s a long way from the pine trees of Effingham County to the other side of the Green Mountain National Forest in central Vermont. That’s where South Effingham High School seniors Patrick Brown and Travis Simmons are headed to play college football.

Brown and Simmons each signed a letter of intent last Wednesday with Norwich University, located in the small town of Northfield, Vt.

“It’s great, said Brown, a running back. “It’s a blessing.

Added Simmons: “It feels really good. I’ve been working four years, including playing in middle school, to get to the college level.

Mustangs coach Donnie Revell knows he’s losing two stalwart players and leaders but also is proud of his two young charges playing in colleges.

“For them to have this opportunity, it means they’ve done right things, both on the field and in the classroom, he said. “It’s bittersweet when you lose seniors like that. When you lose mainstays, it becomes real difficult. But you’re excited for them because they’re going to get an opportunity to continue to play college football. For anybody to get to play college football is a big deal.

At 5-foot-10 and 162 pounds, Brown ran for a school-record 1,624 yards and 15 touchdowns, including 327 yards and five touchdowns against Richmond Hill. Brown’s size belied his ability as a runner, particularly his strength and speed.

“I have been underestimated a lot, he said.

Brown acknowledged he learned a lot from former Mustangs star Josh Mercer when Mercer was a senior and Brown was a freshman.

“I added it to my game and kept working hard and getting better, he said.

Brown, named to the all-Region 3-AAAAA first team as a senior, finished his Mustangs career with 3,721 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns. He also put up impressive numbers in the weight room. His power index — the totals of his bench press, squat and clean divided by his body weight — is 6.5.

“He is one of the strongest young men I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with, Revell said.

Simmons, a safety and receiver, helped get the defense set and also earned first-team all-region status. He had 48 tackles, three for losses, and recovered two fumbles. He caught 10 passes for 191 yards in his senior season. Simmons likely will play defensive back for the Cadets.

“I’m more comfortable at defensive back, he said, “but if I can make more plays at wide receiver, I’ll do that.

Simmons enjoyed his visit to Vermont, and the Cadets went 6-5 last year, falling to Albright (Penn.) in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.

“The campus is nice and the people there are generous, Simmons said. “The coaches really like me and my style of play.

Brown too likes the environs of the small school — and he’s eager to see the change and drastic departures in climates

“I love the facility, he said. “I love the education system. I love the snow. I don’t get to see snow much. I’ll have to get used to it. It’s pretty cold there.

As their high school coach, Revell is eager to see Brown and Simmons continue their football careers and get a college education with it.

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