MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When Parkersburg South opened the 2019 football season, the Patriots were getting adjusted to new head coach Nathan Tanner and first-year starting quarterback Brandon Penn.

South engineered their best season in 16 years, going 11-2 and falling at eventual champion Martinsburg in the Class AAA semifinals.

Penn was a mainstay in the Patriot secondary heading into his senior season but he played sparingly at quarterback. Penn was a freshman and junior varsity signal caller in 2016, missed much of his sophomore season due to injury and played receiver as a junior. But he earned the starting spot under center in the preseason and went on to win the J.R. House Award as West Virginia’s top high school quarterback.

“Before the season I always imagined how the season would go,” Penn said. “I was mental repping everything and you always want the best outcome. Basically I lived it out.

“I knew I was good at quarterback. I just didn’t think I would be the best in the state.”

Penn threw for 2,251 yards last fall with 25 touchdowns against just 4 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,853 yards with 19 scores. While Penn’s ability to tuck and run kept opposing defenses honest, he says airing it out is his favorite way to move the ball.

“It is two different types of feelings. Running is exhilarating. But passing, you just feel like the man. You feel like you are that dude whenever you send a long dime down the field.”

Penn’s high school career came to a close with a frightening injury in the state semifinals. He suffered a pair of broken vertebrae while trying to make a tackle late in the first half.

“It was kind of traumatizing knowing that my life could change right then and there if I would have just broke it a little bit more. I am just learning to live with it and move on.”

The good news is Penn’s road to recovery is almost complete.

“I am almost done. I still have one more surgery to get the screws taken out in my back. After that there is no recovery time, it is just based off my pain. That’s the only next step that I have.”

Penn is taking his talents to Glenville State this fall, where he will play defensive back.

“The main question I get from college coaches is, ‘Which one do I like to play more?’ I said defense because it brings a lot more excitement to me. I didn’t really think I would be that good at quarterback until I started playing. If the coaches at Glenville really think that I can do good at quarterback too then I would be willing to give it a shot.”