FLORENCE – With a verbal commitment to Rocky Mountain College in Billings and a deep sigh of satisfaction, Florence football and basketball standout Brady Pickering is looking forward to the future.

“It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “All my life I’ve wanted to play college football and the fact that it’s coming true is pretty awesome.”

As team captain and quarterback, Pickering led a young team through a tough season last fall, but said the highlight of his senior year was the win against rival St. Ignatius where he rushed for two touchdowns and passed for two more in an exciting 25-0 shutout.

“Since we didn’t have a great season, it was hard to keep everyone motivated,” he said. “But I learned to lead by example and give it my all, to come out on the field and give 100 percent every day and people followed.”

In basketball, the 6-foot-2 Pickering shined when it mattered most – again during a heated rivalry game against Loyola for the district championship. He not only led the team in rebounds, but scored the buzzer beater for the 38-36 victory.

“That was a great moment,” he said. “Brad had put up a shot and it bounced off the rim and I was able to put it back up with .5 seconds left on the clock. It was definitely awesome. … We made it to state when no one thought we were going to, which was our goal. We won one game at state and we were happy with that. We know we could have done better, but overall it was a success. I had a great state tournament and played very well and had a good time. I guess that’s a good way to end.”

Pickering gives credit to many of coaching mentors, especially his quarterback coach Pat Duchien for having such an impact in his life both on and off the field.

He also said the Florence fans make all the hard work and preparation worth it on game day.

“When we get our whole community out to support us, it means a lot and really gets us ready to play and helps us do our best,” he said. “My family has been a great support system throughout my life. They’ve always been there in everything I do. I have a lot of extended family and couldn’t ask for better support. My siblings are awesome and it’s always fun to see them in the stands having a good time during the games. I’m glad that part’s not going to be over.”

He said sports have always been the most important thing in his life. “Sports has been everything to me,” he said. “I’ve learned that if you want something you have to work for it. It’s not going to just be given to you. Sports have really strengthened my work ethic. Having a bad season in football just taught me to be grateful for what I have and not take anything for granted. I’m going to use all that and take that with me when I play at the next level.”

Pickering is looking forward to officially signing with Coach Armstrong’s football program next week as well as start planning his classes and schedule.

“I think I’m pretty set on a double-major in business and computer science,” he said. “I just want to go down to Rocky and be a good contributor, not only to the team but to the community and do anything I can to make our team better.”

Stacie Duce is a freelance writer for the Ravalli Republic.

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