Deerfield two-way lineman Patrick Forrestal is headed to the Naval Academy next season to play football, choosing Navy over Yale and Georgia Tech.
ALBANY — Anchors away!
That’s the way Deerfield-Windsor two-way lineman Patrick Forrestal felt about his future, which will now be put in the hands of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Forrestal, one of the top linemen in Southwest Georgia, verbally committed to Navy on Friday before helping the Knights beat up on Tattnall Square, 42-21, in the opening round of the GISA Class AAA state playoffs.
“I’m real happy about making my decision,’’ Forrestal said. “It was beginning to weigh on me.’’
Georgia Tech and others had shown interest, and Forrestal was also considering Yale but said when he decided to go to Navy, he knew he made the right choice.
“It’s the obvious decision, having chance to go to Navy,’’ Forrestal said. “I’m not only going to Navy, but I’m going to get to play football there.”
The Forrestal family talked about the decision Thursday.
“Navy wanted him, and it’s a great opportunity,’’ said Forrestal’s mother, Allison. “It’s a no-brainer.’’
Forrestal plays both ways at DWS and dominates games from both sides of the line. He’s 6-foot-4, weighs 310 pounds and has exceptional quickness for a big player, especially in the backfield, where he seems to have another gear. There were times this season when Forrestal ran down quicker running backs in the backfield — and on one occasion, he wrecked a screen pass by simply being quicker than the running back on the play.
“He’s got great feet,’’ Deerfield coach Allen Lowe said. “He’s got a great first step. He may not turn heads in the 40, but in the trenches moving side to side, he can do it.”
Navy recruited Forrestal as a defensive lineman and plans to use him at nose guard. He has made 77 tackles this season, including three sacks, and he has helped lead the DWS defense all year.
Ivy League schools and others were interested in Forrestal, who has a 3.9 GPA in the classroom and leadership qualities on the field.
“He’s a great kid, a great student and a great leader, otherwise a school like Navy wouldn’t be interested in him,’’ Lowe said. “We are really proud of him. It’s an honor to go to Navy.’’
That’s how Forrestal feels about it.
“I couldn’t be happier about making the decision,’’ Forrestal said.
WESTOVER'S JONES, JONESBORO'S FLOYD READY TO MEET AGAIN:
ALBANY -- Westover head coach Octavia Jones and Jonesboro head coach Timothy Floyd have always been good friends after playing at Albany State together. Floyd, a Westover grad, got the best of Jones in the first meeting, 34-12, but Jones got the last laugh this season in Friday’s 26-21 win in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs.
“(Westover’s win) is a whole lot bigger,” said Floyd, who missed the first game against Westover while serving a two-game suspension for recruiting violations. “He’s doing a great job and I’m proud of him. He’s a great guy and a good coach. When I see him in January or February at the (coaching) clinic, I’ll tell him we’ll be shooting for them.”
Westover will travel to Jonesboro next year for the rubber match.
The Patriots, 8-3 on the season and the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AAAA, will play on Friday against South Effingham. The Mustangs, a No. 4 seed from Region 3-AAAA, upset Westside, Macon Friday and will have to travel to Hugh Mills to face Westover. South Effingham (7-4) pulled an upside in the region playoffs just to get into the state tournament, but its upset of Westside, Macon (9-2) kept the Patriots at home in round two after Westover hosted its first playoff game in school history Friday.
Jones said he’s glad to be back at home in the Sweet 16, but knows another test awaits.
“I feel good, but (South Effingham has) to be good if they beat Westside,” Jones said. “I promise you we won’t overlook them.”
Jones credited Patriots’ defensive coordinator Bryan Brown with formulating a gameplan to slow down Jonesboro receiver Cameron Sutton, a University of Tennessee commit who burned Westover in the first meeting this season.
Sutton pulled down four catches for 98 yards Friday, including a 47-yard jump ball while surrounded by two defensive backs, but was held without a touchdown.
“We just wanted to be aggressive underneath (in coverage) and have somebody over the top so those corners could be aggressive,” Jones said. “Coach Brown came up with a great gameplan.”
Herald staff sports writer Matt Stewart contributed to this report