Patrick Deans knew he had lacrosse.
A mainstay on Lambert’s defense for the past four years, Deans missed his senior football season after breaking his collarbone last summer during 7-on-7s.
But Deans constantly reminded himself of what was waiting on the other side of his rehabilitation and training: a chance at another state championship with the rest of Lambert’s decorated senior class.
He admits that’s what kept him motivated as he battled back from injury. So it was especially devastating for Deans when the season was canceled about a month after it started.
“I was really sad,” Deans said. “It was a rough night for me, because we worked for a whole year. Everybody on our team did. I was looking to get back to a fourth state championship, bring another one home for Lambert. That’s what I was looking forward to.”
Deans, the 2020 Forsyth County News Player of the Year, helped the Longhorns to a 5-2 record before the season was canceled. Last year Lambert reached the Class 7A state championship and finished with a 21-2 record after falling to Walton, 8-7, in the title game.
“I didn’t get to play football this season, unfortunately, so I really had my mind set on that,” Deans said. “Then, to happen again, it was really heartbreaking. It crushed me. But I think we had a great season otherwise. Unfortunately didn’t get to finish it out.”
Deans is one of 18 seniors on Lambert’s lacrosse team, a group that lost only six games in four seasons.
The Longhorns finished 21-2 in 2017, 22-0 in 2018 and 21-2 in 2019, winning every single area match during that time.
“It was definitely really special, because losing six games in four years is obviously incredible. I hate losing, so that works out,” Deans said. “I guess it just shows our commitment to the program at all levels – the players, the coaches and everybody, and how we’ve done the right things and how it’s paid off for us. I mean, nobody really wants to play us anymore. It’s a good feeling when you walk on. You can tell that this guy doesn’t want to go against me or anybody on the field. It’s definitely nice to have.”
Deans will enroll this fall at Johns Hopkins, a historically dominant lacrosse program that owns nine NCAA national championships.
The Blue Jays compete in the Big Ten, where Deans will line up against former teammates Jaryd Jean-Felix (Rutgers) and Gerard Kane (Ohio State).
“Jaryd Jean-Felix, who was a senior my freshman year, he was going to start on Rutgers this season before the season got canned,” Deans said. “He’ll start next year again, so I’ll see him next year when we’ll be playing against each other.
“It’ll be different. I’m excited. I mean, I guess we won’t really go up against each other one-on-one because we’re both defense, but we’re looking forward to it.”
With Johns Hopkins located in a lacrosse hotbed of Baltimore, Maryland, Deans projects to be one of two players from Georgia on the Blue Jays’ 2021 roster.
As dominant as the Longhorns have been – winning four state championships since 2011 – Deans acknowledges he still has plenty to prove.
“I’d say Lambert and teams like Ponte Vedra (Fl.) definitely help that over the years, even just the four years that I’ve been going to tournaments up in North Carolina and Baltimore,” Deans said. “We’ve definitely gotten a little more respect, but we’re definitely not to the top caliber of teams like Calvert Hall yet. We’re working toward it, though.”
Deans, an All-American a year ago, is a repeat winner of the Forsyth County News Player of the Year award. Still, individual awards pale in comparison to what Deans and the Longhorns believed they could have accomplished on the field this season.
“I would have given that up if we could have won our state championship,” Deans said. “That was my main goal for the season. That’s what I wanted for us and our team and everybody. This is just icing on the cake.”