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Hinesville native plays beyond injuries for victory
Will Pettis - photo by Photo provided / Coastal Courier
Hinesville native and Arena Football Iron Man star Will Pettis is not one to watch from the sidelines while others play his game. After missing one game due to a back injury, the Hinesville native returned to practice last week as the Dallas Desperados prepared for their Friday night game against the Orlando Predators.
Pettis, one of the last few two-way players in the arena football league, was plagued with injuries, leaving the last game of last season early with back spasms. This season, he sustained a concussion March 22 in a helmet-to-helmet crash, and sat out another game after re-injuring his back in a match against Grand Rapids two weeks ago.
Aside from his personal injuries, Pettis’s team, the Dallas Desperados, is coming off a recent string of incidents that may interfere with the club’s shot at the playoffs. Only four games remain in the regular season.
“I think the game is getting a little tougher,” Pettis said during a phone interview before Friday’s game. “It’s football. I’ve been blessed to not have any serious injuries in my career, but it’s inevitable. I think most players have had something happen to them. I’m hoping, God willing, nothing else will happen to me, but it’s football. I’m fine; I’m at 90 something percent. I worked out this week, I’m running fine and everything seems to be all right. We will see.”
As the longest-tenured player for the Desperados, Pettis acknowledged the team has been plagued by injuries but said they had men on their roster who were on standby and ready to play.
“They are capable or else they would not be here,” Pettis said. “God willing, we can get back on track. We have four games left; we can get back on track and roll by the time playoffs get here.”
Pettis, last year’s Iron Man of the Year winner, said he doesn’t feel any pressure regarding his ability and just wants to do his best on the field at all times.
“You know I train in the off-season to do that,” he said. “It’s all through the grace of God that I do well. I hope that He continues to carry me. As long as I do my part, I trust that He will do His part, enabling me to play well. I’m definitely able to contribute to the team and help them win.”
That much became evident as Pettis once again showed how vital he is to the Desperados in his roles as defensive back and wide receiver.
Pettis scored a team-high four touchdowns and made his first career interception return for a score to help Dallas crush Orlando 67-41, and move one step closer to a playoff berth Friday night.
The victory brings him one step closer to his goal.
“My goal in the near future is to win a championship,” he said. “Maybe down the road an offensive or defensive player of the year, but right now it’s to have at least one championship.”
Pettis said he realizes that, at some time in the future, his career as a player will end and this man of devout faith hopes he can use his athleticism and faith to help the next generation of players.
“In the future, I would like to get into coaching,” he said. “I have a passion for it. Something at the high school level - you know mentoring young men is something I have a passion to do. If they have a dream I would tell them to set their goal and don’t give up no matter what type of adversity came up. At the same time, they need to stay away from stuff that will hinder them from reaching their goal. A lot of kids want the glory but they don’t want to do all the hard work to get there. All good things don’t come easy. Most of the time, they come hard. Don’t give up, believe in yourself and most of all, trust in the Lord and let him guide your path.”
Pettis’s parents, along with a few relatives and friends, still reside in the Hinesville area.
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