It was only a couple of years ago that Paul Norton was dominating under center for the Revere High Patriots. The former Patriot is now a soon-to-be-junior at Plymouth State University, but has yet to start a game as quarterback for the Panthers. Paul, the once glorified star at Revere High, dealt with adversity immediately at the intercollegiate level.
“I learned very quickly in the first week of camp my freshman year that my athleticism was only going to carry me so far,” Paul expressed. “I had to hit the weight room and film room as hard as I could, along with fine tuning my mechanics and fundamentals, so I could become the best quarterback I could be.”
Although Paul was able to establish a diligent work ethic, his freshman season was cut short due to injuries as he rarely got the chance to step onto the field.
“I battled a few injuries my freshman year, which only allowed me to see playing time in 3 games in situations that had little to no meaning,” Paul explained.
Paul rededicated himself to his work regime last summer in training camp and almost beat out upperclassmen Jake Tyler for the starting quarterback job.
“During camp my sophomore year my hard work and dedication almost paid off, where it was an extremely close race for the starting job, but I was eventually beaten out by Jake [Tyler] because of his experience and overall size as a football player; he stands at 6’2 225 and I’m only 5’10 190,” Paul depicted.
Despite not being named the starter, Paul was able to establish himself as a devoted player that will compete as hard as possible and do whatever the team asks of him.
“I had a great camp proving to my teammates and coaches that I could be counted on when my number was called.”
As a consummate athlete, Paul understands that he needs to be ready to step in and lead the Panthers under center at any time.
“I take my job very seriously as a backup quarterback because football is such a freak sport and Jake could go down at any given moment.”
Paul may not have been the starter for the Panthers last season, but his dedication and leadership on and off the football field could not be questioned.
“I am the first one on the field and the last one to leave the field; the same goes for the weight room and film room to once again get better every chance I can to reach my ultimate goal of becoming the starting quarterback,” Paul expressed. “During games I am in on every play call, helping Jake and the rest of the offense trying to maximize our opportunity for success by reading defenses.”
The Panthers have struggled the past two seasons, winning just 3 of 14 league games in the New England Football Conference (NEFC), missing the postseason in each of the past two years.
Paul conveyed that the team has taken a “full devotion to restoring the tradition at Plymouth State.” The first step in the Panthers’ journey to revamping a winning culture has been their commitment in the weight room this summer.
“We all have ‘lived’ in the weight room this offseason, along with putting in extra training time with the offense to build better continuity so we will be a defenses worst nightmare next season,” Paul articulated.
Paul has made his mark working out in the Panthers’ training facility.
“With all this training, I now own 5 out of 6 quarterback weight lifting records in Plymouth State football history.”
With Paul successfully demonstrating his extraordinary strength and athleticism to the team in the weight room, the Panthers coaching staff realized it was senseless to waste his junior season on the sidelines as just the backup quarterback. In the upcoming year, Paul will not just be the second string quarterback behind senior Jake Tyler, he will also be suiting up at strong safety for the Panthers.
Paul, who experienced playing in a secondary as a part-time cornerback for the Revere High Patriots, was ecstatic of the coaches’ decision to give him a chance at another position.
“I was all for the move,” Paul voiced. “With my love and passion for the game, I can’t wait to be in the mix on the field and helping my team win as many games as possible.”
The starting quarterback job could belong to Paul in his senior season in 2014, with Jake Tyler graduating after this upcoming season. For now, though, Paul is focusing on the Panthers’ success as a team.
“Only time will tell what my status will be for my senior year, but I will continue to work hard and do whatever is asked of me to benefit my team.”
Austin Prep Cougars seeking hall of fame nominations
The Cougars of Austin Preparatory School in Reading are searching for their next Hall of Fame inductees. Nominations for the 2014 Austin Prep Athletic Hall of Fame are now being accepted. The deadline is Thurs., Oct. 31.
Eligible athletes and coaches need to have graduated or retired from coaching on or before June, 2009. A nomination form must be filled out online; go to www.austinprepschool.org, then click on the Athletics tab to fill out the form. Please provide as much information as possible: newspaper articles, records, and anything that will aid the selection process. Electronic links may be sent to Patricia Gonzalez, Director of Athletics, at [email protected] material may be sent via mail to Gonzalez, c/o Austin Preparatory School, 101 Willow St., Reading, MA 01867-1599.