Cordell Patterson just wanted to be a part of the team.
He ended up being so much more.
Patterson is a senior on the Frankford High School football team, and when he transferred into the school over the summer, he decided to try out for the football team.
He knew he had the skill to play wideout and defensive back, but being part of the football team is a lot more than just playing your position, so he started to come around and meet the players as soon as he knew he was coming in.
It really made a difference.
“They accepted me right away, once I got to know everyone,” said Patterson, who lives in Mayfair. “I love it here. Once I got here, it was like I played with these guys my whole life. They took me right in. We got really close.
“I started going when we were doing seven on seven over the summer. By the third game of the season, I was playing. It really is a great team, we are all friends. We play for each other. We’re a family.”
The Pioneers didn’t just have a good time playing together this year, they put together a solid season.
Frankford advanced to the Public League 5A semifinals and ended the season 5-7. The Pioneers’ final game was against Boys’ Latin on Thanksgiving morning, and it could have gone better. They fell 16-0 in the annual game, but it didn’t leave a bad taste in Patterson’s mouth.
The season was about more than wins and losses.
“We wanted to win, we played pretty well, but it was hard,” said Patterson, whose team knocked off Boys’ Latin during the regular season. “It wasn’t fun when we started losing, but in the beginning, it was going great. We love playing those guys.”
Boys’ Latin and Frankford have grown to be very close both through football and in community activities.
The two teams each summer have a practice for peace, encouraging players to avoid conflict to stay safe. The teams were also invited to go to Lincoln Financial Field to meet Eagles and just hang out together.
They’re rivals, but it’s definitely a friendly rivalry and Patterson is happy they got to mix it up one more time.
“Those guys are cool, we wanted to beat them still, but we like playing them,” Patterson said. “We did a lot together, so we know them pretty good. Playing them is hard, but I’m glad we had another game to play together.”
Patterson did everything in his power to help the Pioneers, contributing on both offense and defense. Because of the windy conditions, there wasn’t a lot of throwing, but when the opportunity was there, Patterson made plays.
“I was mad they didn’t throw a lot because I love making plays on defense,” Patterson said. “The weather wasn’t too good for me to make plays, but I like hitting, too. I try to do whatever I can to help the team. I like playing receiver, too, I’ll do whatever we need because that’s what it takes to be a winning team. We all did that this year.”
Patterson worked on his football skills during the offseason to prepare for this year, and he’s going to do the same this offseason, although he’ll do it to prepare for his future team.
He plans on running sprints for the track team, which will only help him get noticed by a college. He’s also going to start working with Frankford coach Bill Sytsma to find the perfect place for him.
“I definitely want to play college football. If I can play football and get a great education, that’s what I want to do. Football can help you in a lot of ways.”
He also has plans beyond football.
While he is a big hitter on the field, he’s also an artist off of it, and he hopes to use those talents to create his own brand.
“I want to study art or something like that,” Patterson said. “I’ve always been pretty good at drawing and I’m starting to come up with ideas. I started drawing tattoos, and that made me think I could do other things.
“My main goal is to get into fashion design. I love doing that. I want to draw my (logo) and put it on all of the clothes. I think it would be great to see people wearing my art. I like fashion and drawing so it goes together.”
Almost as well as he goes with the Pioneers.
A year ago, Patterson didn’t know a lot of the guys on the team. And now he’ll never forget them.
“We didn’t win a championship, but we had a great year together,” Patterson said. “We did a lot of great things, not just football, and we played tough all year. I wish we won the last game, but it was a great year.”