At Tales From Sport, we believe in giving athletes the platform to tell their stories first-hand. Of course, fans of any sports will always have their own opinion on what a players greatest moment was, but does that player feel the same? Or is there another, more personal moment that stands above all others?
In this series, we will be asking professional athletes from various sports one simple question, What do you consider the greatest moment of your career?
In the ninth edition of this series, American Defensive Back Patrick Isbell joins us to share his answer.
‘My Greatest Moment in Sport’ by Patrick Isbell
I’ve had many great experiences and memories in my football career, but one I’ll never forget is my senior year of High School.
My greatest moment happened back in 2016-2017, so it’s been a while, but it’s something that will live with me forever. I played for Mountain Pointe High School in Arizona, a 6A School – one of the larger High Schools in the state. That year at Mountain Pointe, our team ranked as a top 10 high school in the United States. That was surreal in itself! Not only that, but we had a pretty much perfect season. In the regular season, we went 10-0 and then came the playoffs. Every game got harder and harder, but we were a resilient and focused team, which led to my greatest moment; Playing for the 6A Arizona State championship at the Arizona Cardinals Stadium against Chandler High School. It was like a dream to me! Being in the locker room was unbelievable, and walking out onto the field with my team 13-0 up is a moment I will never forget.
Now great stories don’t always have the perfect ending, and we ended up losing that last game of the season. We had lots of injuries, and a few other things went wrong. However, I give myself or my team no excuses, but if you ask me whether we win or lose, I still felt like a champion and walked myself off that field with pride. I could never have asked for a better team, a better experience and better teammates, who I still keep in contact with four years on. My time at Mountain Pointe helped me become the player and person I am today, and going to Mountain Pointe HS is something I will carry with me for life because once part of the Pride, always one of the Pride.
Patrick Isbell Biography:
Patrick Isbell is an American Defensive End with the flexibility to also play Outside Linebacker. His recent spell in Germany saw him help Frankfurt Universe retain their status in GFL1 with victory in their final game. With 19 tackles, 1 sack (-14 yard loss), four tackles for loss, and 17 QB hurries, he made an immediate impact across his five games in the league, whilst his production and skill set make him a name to look out for on the European scene in 2022.
However, fear of success is not in Isbell’s make-up. JUCO and several stints in the HJCAC, created a platform for his recent foray in the GFL1 a beyond. For 2022 he will be a prized asset for an ELF or GFL1 team looking for a ‘high motor, intelligent, defensive end with a love for the game’. Of all the scouting jargon that describes a young player; work rate, intelligence, and a love for playing Football would be near the top of any Head Coaches list, and when you add the physical traits of 6ft2″ 240 lbs and 4.5 forty, you start to get an idea how he made such a quick transition into Germany’s top league.
Isbell’s career began as a Defensive Tackle at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Arizona where they reached the state championship final. He took time to mature and grow, literally, growing two inches after he graduated in 2017. This late growth spurt helped Isbell recalibrate, slim down and focus on life on the edge (of the rushing variety). A once 260 pound DT was now a 225 pound DE, redshirting at Arizona College and focusing on learning the skills to succeed in his new role. Further maturation, both physically and mentally, saw Isbell settle into life at South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, in 2019. Isbell’s journey continued at SMCC, where a 3.4 GPA illustrated to his coaches that he was working hard off the field and his performances with the pads on were indicative that the same was true on it.
In his first year of JUCO (Junior College), he played in the newly formed HJCAC – Hohokan Junior College Athletic Conference. This initiative brought about to return of Junior College Football to the Maricopa County area of Arizona and saw the formation of four fully-funded football programmes that would compete in the HJCAC. As a member of a local school, Isbell was eligible and was signed to the Salt River Scorpions in 2019 and then the Gila River Hawks in 2020, where he excelled. In just eight games, Isbell amassed ten sacks, 16 tackles for loss, as well as 41 tackles and three pass breakups. He was a nuisance wherever he played, either at Linebacker or Defensive End and his performances helped the River Hawks claim the HJCAC title, defeating the Maricopa Mustangs in the championship game. A game where Isbell racked up two sacks, 2 tackles for loss and 3 QB pressures/hits. The season ended with the River Hawks ranked the #18 JUCO in the country.
A season terrorising offences in the HJCAC meant that Isbell was beginning to gain the attention of teams in Europe, and, like Tom Cruise, his adventure overseas was born on the fourth of July, when the Frankfurt Universe came calling via Europlayers. It was midseason in the 2021 GFL1 when Isbell travelled out to join his new teammates. The season concluded in a nail-biting comeback win against the Marburg Mercenaries 27-30, which staved off relegation and retained the Universes’ GFL1 status for 2022.
So what next for Patrick Isbell? A journey that has taken him from the home of the NFL’s current number one team (in wins at least) to the location of its newest overseas game (Germany look likely to be slated for a regular-season game in 2022) via JUCO and back again. And that’s where we are today, October 2021, and when I spoke with Patrick about his future, he was unequivocal about what was next. “I am currently training, here in Phoenix, gaining speed, working on D end techniques, explosive footwork and getting bigger, stronger, faster”. It’s an exciting time for an exciting athlete who plans on being a dominant defensive player in the 2022 season of either the ELF or GFL1.
They say a smooth sea never made a successful sailor; Patrick Isbell has steadied his ship, earned his stripes and is ready in 2022 to prove that he can navigate whatever challenges come his way.
An enormous thank you to Patrick Isbell for contributing to this article. He has been genuinely fantastic to work with him and he has been a great guy to us. We really appreciate the effort he put into this, his patience with us and for supporting our site.