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When it comes down to being rock solid in the middle of the defense and picking up those tough three yards, it pays to have a player like Noah Pettigrew.
At 220 pounds, Pettigrew is built like a prototypical linebacker in today’s game and as he proved in Valwood’s season opener at Frederica Academy, he is a force on the field. The senior had 12 tackles with four for loss in the Valiants’ 27-6 loss to the Knights.
Pettigrew didn’t grow up playing football. Instead, his love was for the sport of wrestling. Pettigrew has been wrestling his whole life and came to Valwood in search of better competition in tournaments.
With a year left in his high school career, Pettigrew found another sport he could throw his weight around in.
“I didn’t come to play football at first. I came to Valwood to go to the bigger wrestling tournaments.” Pettigrew said. “Focusing on wrestling was my goal, but then, I was like, ‘hey it’s my senior. Why not play football?”
Transitioning into football wasn’t that hard for Pettigrew coming from a wrestling background. Wrestling is designed to get the man to the ground and with football, playing the middle linebacker position, who better to get the offensive player to the ground other than Pettigrew?
Pettigrew uses his wrestling techniques in the game to help him become a great tackler.
“I use wrestling to help in football with me getting to a low level and keeping my hips square,” Pettigrew explained. “With that, I’m able to lower my level very well on a tackle.”
Through the first game of the season, Pettigrew has already shown what he brings to the Valwood defense. Playing for the defensive-minded Justin Henderson, he’s happy to have Henderson as his first head football coach.
“Coach Henderson is a great guy and coach,” Pettigrew said. “He makes sure to show you love when you deserve it and get on you when you need it also.”
Pettigrew has committed to his dream school, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for wrestling.