Flanagan Pilots the Tigers to Success at Quarterback
When Patch Flanagan was a kid, he always wanted to be like his older brothers Will and Jack. Patch followed in his brother’s footsteps when he started playing football in Madison as a 4th-grader, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Patch recently completed his senior season as a captain and a quarterback for the Hand football team. Patch finished the year with 1,589 passing yards and 18 touchdowns to go with 932 rushing yards and 15 TDs on the ground for the Tigers, helping them qualify the Class L State Playoffs.
When all was said and done, Patch did his family proud and wound up earning All-SCC Tier 1 accolades for his performance at the quarterback position this fall.
“I’ve been playing football since I was in 4th grade, but have pretty much been around it my entire life,” says Patch. “Both of my older brothers played football. I was the water boy for my oldest brother’s team, and just being around the team and seeing the brotherhood and passion around the sport is what really made me fall in love.”
Patch’s passion for football has grown immensely over the years. Patch dedicated himself to the game and prided himself on improving every time that he hit the gridiron.
“My favorite aspect of the sport is how special the relationships that I have formed are. Going to practice every day and playing with all my brothers and coaches makes these bonds mean so much more,” Patch says. “I do a lot during the offseason to improve, whether it’s lifting weights, running, or going down to the turf and throwing with my teammates. I just want to keep getting better.”
Following the graduation of Phoenix Billings, Patch was slated to become Hand’s starting quarterback as a junior last year, but the season was canceled due to COVID-19. Patch hoped that the Tigers would be able to complete a full campaign in 2021. Despite one early setback, Hand played 11 games and finished the year with an overall record of 7-4.
“I wasn’t really worried this year as we had already had the worst thing possible happen to us in the cancellation of our 2020 season,” says Patch. “We tried not to stress about COVID too much, while obviously following the guidelines. There were a couple of times where we had little scares here and there and even had one of our games postponed, but we did our best to stay safe and healthy, and it all worked out.”
First-year Head Coach Erik Becker could always rely on Patch to perform well for the Tigers under center. Becker and Patch developed a strong bond, and Hand’s coach knows that the senior captain QB will be sorely missed next year.
“Patch is the consummate captain, teammate, and leader. He made everyone around him better every day,” Becker says. “Patch is one of the best football players I have ever been around. He’s truly outstanding in every sense of the word.”
Patch views Coach Becker as both a mentor and a friend. Patch that knows he can go to Becker with any problems he has, whether it be on or off the field.
“My relationship with Coach Becker is very special. He’s been a great mentor of mine since youth football and has always been someone that I’ve looked up to,” says Patch. “He has always been invested in my success even before he was my coach, which made this year even more special.”
Patch will always cherish that moment when he made the first start of his high school career this year. It was a surreal experience for Patch when he took the field with his fellow Tigers by his side. Together, they helped Hand continue its tradition of excellence.
“Running onto the field and seeing thousands of people fill the field that I have been playing at for my whole life was the most surreal feeling in the world. It was definitely a big moment that I anticipated greatly as it had been my dream to play at Hand since I was little,” Patch says. “Having to wait an extra year due to COVID definitely didn’t make it easier. I had trust in my teammates and coaches and had been mentored by so many great players before me, including backing up Phoenix for a year, so I knew that I was ready for my time.”