Hartley excited to join the Bears|Former Pam Pack star to play LB

Published 9:14 pm Friday, June 4, 2010

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Cole Hartley is more than ready to tackle his next challenge.
Washington’s football season ended with a 21-6 loss to Western Alamance in the first round of the 2009 state playoffs. It didn’t take long for Hartley, a star linebacker for the Pam Pack, to have the desire to return to the field.
“Two weeks after football ended, I was ready to play again,” Hartley said. “I was ready to put the pads on again.”
Luckily, Hartley will get that chance. The outgoing, athletic Hartley, who was also a standout catcher for the Pam Pack baseball team, will get the opportunity to play for the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears.
“I’m happy for him,” Washington head coach Sport Sawyer said. “He was a hard player. He did anything for the team and played multiple positions for us. He worked hard and got better each week.
“I think with his hard work and determination, if he gets a chance, he can show them that he can play. I think he’ll do well for them.”
Hartley, who plans to study physical education with the hopes of one day coaching football, was impressed as soon as his foot hit the campus in Hickory.
“When I went to visit I really liked the campus,” Hartley said. “I knew I wanted to go there right away. I met the coaches and they seemed really personable. When they asked me to play, I was really excited because I was going to go there anyway.”
The 6-0, 190-pound Hartley finished his senior season with 110 tackles, four pass deflections, a fumble recovery and a caused fumble.
Hartley was named to the WDN All-Area First Team at linebacker, earned Coastal Conference honors, received the Linebacker Award at Washington football’s awards night and earned the Trent Watkins Award.
Jon Blank, Washington’s defensive coordinator, said Hartley was deserving of the accolades.
“Cole has many qualities that you look for in a leader,” Blank said. “He played with a team-first mentality and he could be trusted as almost a coach on the field.
“He plays hard every down and was an excellent run-stopper in the middle. He also made others around him better, because of the way he played and because he was a good teammate.”
Hartley, who also played some tight end (1 catch for 4 yards) and some fullback (1 rush for 4 yards) for Washington, credited his coaches with helping him succeed.
“Coach Blank and I didn’t get along that great my first three years, but we developed a friendship my senior year,” Hartley said. “Since he was my position coach, that was nice. He really looked after me and helped me out a lot.
“Coach Sawyer is a good coach. He helped me out in the recruiting process.”
He also thanked his parents, David and Lisa Hartley, for their support.
“They were in the Mom’s Club and did stuff with that,” Hartley said. “My dad has always pushed me. He has coached me since I was little. They have been a really big help.”
What should also help Hartley this upcoming season with the Bears (5-6, 2-5 South Atlantic Conference) is having a former Pam Pack teammate, defensive back and special teams ace, Jamont Jones, on the squad.
“He’s helped a lot already,” Hartley said of Jones. “He said it’s a great school and the coaches are cool. That is a nod to go there.”
The physical linebacker, who helped Washington keep five opponents out of the end zone last year, had a season-high 18 tackles in a 14-13 overtime loss to South Central. It was a tough loss, but Hartley remembers some important words he heard after the game.
“South Central coach (Walt) Davis shook my hand after the game and said I was a hell of a football player,” Hartley said. “That made me feel really good.”
Hartley, who also recorded 16 tackles against White Oak, had his most memorable moment with the Pam Pack in his final game. He drilled a Western Alamance ball carrier, which brought the crowd to its feet.
“That was the biggest hit I ever made,” Hartley said. “Hearing the crowd go, ‘ohhh,’ was the best part. All the young guys came up to me after the game to talk about the hit and that made me feel good.“
It’s that kind of drive and his passion for the game that should help Hartley be successful at the next level.
“I think I have a strong work ethic,” he said. “You can’t be timid at linebacker. You have to be moving forward and you have to hit the holes hard.”
Hartley, who was a captain on the Pam Pack squad, is ready to suit up for the Bears.
“I’m hoping to work really, really hard and earn some playing time,” said Hartley, who has been working out in preparation for reporting to the Bears on Aug. 8. “I would like to get some (scholarship) money to go there.
“I’m super excited. I’m ready to start practicing and showing them what I got.”
The Bears open the 2010 season Aug. 28 at home against Chowan.
Date Day Opponent Site Time
Aug. 28 Sat. Chowan Hickory, N.C. 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 Sat. Concord Hickory, N.C. 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 Sat. Davidson (Family Weekend) Hickory, N.C. 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 Sat. North Greenville Tigerville, S.C. 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 Sat. #Newberry Newberry, S.C. 4 p.m.
Oct. 9 Sat. #Mars Hill (Homecoming) Hickory, N.C. 2 p.m.
Oct. 16 Sat. #Brevard Brevard, N.C. 6 p.m.
Oct. 23 Sat. #Tusculum Hickory, N.C. 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 Sat. #Wingate Wingate, N.C. 1:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 Sat. #Carson-Newman Jefferson City, Tenn. 2 p.m.
Nov. 13 Sat. #Catawba Hickory, N.C. 2 p.m.