Fourth Pam Pack football player commits to N.C. Wesleyan

Published 2:37 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2020

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The Battling Bishops added another Washington High School football player to their 2020 roster, as offensive and defensive lineman Stephen Hartley announced his commitment to N.C. Wesleyan on Monday afternoon.

Hartley predominantly played offensive line, but showed versatility in his senior season to play defensive end. He racked up 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, and he also had a blocked field goal on special teams. Hartley was an All-Area first-team selection, as well as an All-Conference player for the Eastern Carolina 2A.

Hartley said that it’s a blessing to be able to play at Wesleyan with an academic scholarship.

“Getting to play at the next level feels amazing. It feels even more amazing that I’m getting an academic scholarship. I’m blessed to have this opportunity,” Hartley said. “From what I’ve seen, the coaches seem great. I can tell they want the best for the players, and I felt very comfortable on my visit when I was speaking to them.”

Hartley also said he is most excited about starting a new journey with three of his high school teammates by his side.

“Wesleyan was the school that recruited him the hardest. He got down with his family and chose them. I think it’s a great fit. He’s going to go there with three teammates, making it four Washington players there,” Pam Pack head coach Perry Owens said. “Stephen is the type of kid that really wants to work hard and do right. He got in the weight room and blossomed. He’s a 1,000-pound Club guy. He’s exactly what this program was rebuilt on. He gets it done in the classroom, in the weight room, and he’s an outstanding young man. For the large majority of his high school career, he was doing everything the right way. He was working a part-time job, helping out at home — I can’t say enough positive things about him.”
Hartley reflected on his favorite moments from his high school career; both that came to mind were from his senior season.

“I have two (favorite memories). One was upsetting Kinston at their place this year, and my other one is getting over four tackles and a strip sack fumble,” Hartley said.

Owens’ favorite moment of Hartley’s career was when he reached the 1,000-pound club.

“I think my favorite Stephen moment was reaching the 1,000-pound Club. He hit a wall at 950 for about a year. The emotion he had when he got over it, and how that pretty much vaulted him into his senior season was special,” Owens said.