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Pettis bound for arena glory
Former Bradwell Institute standout Will Pettis is excelling in Arena Football. - photo by Photo courtesy of Dallas Desperados
Former Bradwell football player Will Pettis has been burning up the Arena Football circuit since his first game for the Dallas Desperados in 2003. In Monday night’s game against the Orlando Predators, he set a franchise record by scoring seven touchdowns to help the Desperados maintain an undefeated season of 4-0.
In addition, he was named Ironman player in the league for March. Since signing with the Desperados in December of 2002, he has established himself as a leader in Arena Football with backto-back seasons of unprecedented yardage, receptions and accolades.
Entering the 2007 season, he has accumulated 9,767 all purpose yards, 346 receptions for 4,116 yards and 76 touchdowns to date.
In 2006, Pettis was named to the All-Arena team for the third time in his career. He is now the longest tenured player for the Desperados and works in a dual role for the team as a wide receiver and a defensive back in a game that is fast paced, hard hitting and high scoring.
In his senior year of high school football at Bradwell, Pettis was already 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 195 pounds and could run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
His college career began at Middle Georgia College as a junior all-American defensive back. Later, he accepted a scholarship to the University of Houston, where, as a defender, he had 45 tackles, broke up 20 passes and had three interceptions. He transferred and finished his college career at Midwestern State with 42 tackles and three interceptions.  
His career in arena football started with the Pensacola Barracudas, an AF2 league team, in 2002 where he finished second on the team for the year with 55 catches for 791 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also led the Barracudas defensively. Pettis went to training camp for the New Orleans Saints in 2003 and the Atlanta Falcons in 2005 but both times he was released during the team’s cuts.
Pettis currently lives with his wife and daughter in Dallas and is an active community advocate for the team. He is supportive of many charitable organizations and makes himself available as a participant in many children’s events.
Although Arena football is in its 21st year, many people are not familiar with the game and its players. Think of it as football on steroids, played indoors on a smaller field where the out of bounds zone is in a spectator’s lap. Many of the rules are similar to the NFL’s but there are some unique qualities to the game. For one thing the field is an indoor padded surface 85 feet wide and 50 yards long with an eight yard end zone, making it more of a passing game than a running game. The goal post is only nine feet wide as opposed to the 18.5 feet in the NFL. The goal posts are enclosed with netting and the receiving team may field any kickoff or missed field goal that rebounds off the net.
Another major difference is the fact that there is no fourth down punting attempts. The team has to try for a field goal, a touchdown or a first down. It is an exciting and thrilling football game for those of us who can’t wait an entire season for regular football to start. Several current and former NFL players started in Arena Football such as Kurt Warner and Orande Gadsen. Pettis, however, is destined to become an Arena Football legend with the possibility of being inducted in to the Arena Football Hall of Fame.
Pettis will travel back home to Georgia as the Dallas Desperados play the Georgia Force on April 21st. Both teams currently lead the National Eastern Conference and National Southern Conference respectively with 4-0 standings.
Sources: Dallas Desperados and the Arena football League

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