Partridge chases dream in newly-formed football league

Featured News Featured Sports Football Profile Sports

Many kids grow up wanting to be a professional athlete.
For Travis Partridge, that dream is a reality and he is not ready to give it up yet, as it has taken him across the country and even into another country on his quest to hang on to the boyhood dream.
“It’s crazy, all the places football has taken me,” Partridge said. “I’m blessed to play a game for a living.”
Partridge’s career at Western is one of the most interesting stories of any player in the history of Griffon football.
The son of Western’s head coach Jerry Partridge came to Western in 2009 and redshirted his first season before serving as a backup quarterback to senior Drew Newhart.
In 2011, the offense was turned over to the athletic signal caller.
Partridge did not disappoint.
He was an honorable mention All-MIAA selection and ran for over 500 yards while throwing for over 1,600. The sophomore also took great care of the ball, posting a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Although Partridge turned in a great sophomore campaign, he entered 2012 as the biggest question mark on Western’s team.
The Griffons returned stars like Michael Hill, David Bass, Shane Simpson, Tarrell Downing, Reggie Jordan and Ben Pister. They were primed for a big run as long as their quarter could guide them there.
And he did more than just guide them. Partridge threw for over 2,700 yards and accounted for 48 total touchdowns through the air and ground. He and Hill formed one of the most dangerous backfields in Division-II.
That team finished 9-1 in the regular season and took the MIAA championship in what is considered by most the greatest game in MWSU history.
After trailing Northwest Missouri State 17-0 at halftime, Western roared back and took a 21-20 victory out of Maryville and Partridge accounted for all three score including the game-winning play with a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:07 left in the game.
The next week, Western defeated Minnesota-Duluth 57-55 in three overtimes and Partridge accounted for seven touchdowns.
Western would advance one more round before falling to Minnesota-Mankato in the round-of-eight, the farthest Western has ever advanced.
The following year, Partridge’s senior season, the Griffons were forced to replace Hill, Downing, Simpson, Bass and Pister. The drop-off was unavoidable and even with a strong season from the reigning First-Team All-MIAA quarterback, they fell to 8-3 and missed the playoffs.
Partridge then took his talents and attempted to make a run at the NFL and continue the pursuit of being a professional quarterback.
“I’m incredibly blessed,” Partridge said. “You get to play the best position on the planet in any sport. I get to play professional football and on top of that I get to play quarterback.”
He had a stint in the Minnesota Vikings’ training camp in 2014, but ended up signing with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.
Partridge earned playing time with the Lions, but was cut in June of this year.
He returned to Western after being cut and began working with the 2015 Griffons.
“You spend five years and you get to know people,” Partridge said. “You care about them. That’s my family. So, anything you can do to help as a former athlete, you are going to do it.”
Then on September 28, he got his shot to get back in the game.
The Hudson Valley Fort signed Partridge and he headed to New York and the newly-formed FXFL.
“It is a great level of play as far as the players that are there,” Coach Jerry Partridge said.
The Fall Experimental Football League is made up of three teams and includes players, such as former Kansas State quarterback and first round NFL Draft selection Josh Freeman.
“It’s a developmental league,” Travis said. “Its a resume-builder is what it is. So basically, agents and scouts that like you in the NFL and CFL can recommend you. So that’s what happened.”
Partridge has made an impact early for the Fort. In his first start, he threw for 269 yards on 20-for-37 passing and ran for 54 additional yards.
“Its been a good experience and if you put good film out there, you never know who will call you,” Partridge said.
The quarterback hopes that this opportunity could lead to another chance at the CFL or NFL level in the future.
Whenever Partridge does decide to hang up his cleats, the son of the winningest coach in Missouri Western history has no doubt where he’d like to end up.
“My grandfather was a high school football coach for 30-plus years and my dad has been the football coach now for going on 20 years,” Partridge said. “So I’ve kind of known what I want to do since I was about 11. You want to play football for as long as you can possibly play and then hang up the spikes and show other people how to play it.”
Before Partridge can begin pacing a sideline like his father though, he has a few more touchdowns to throw and defenders to run by as his playing career continues and he keeps living the dream.