“Everyone in Poland looked up to him,” Poland High graduate Colin Reardon said of his former teammate Darius Patton. “He was that person you would go to watch, to see him make plays.
“And not just in football, but basketball too,” said Reardon, a freshman quarterback on the Kent State University football team. “I’ve just been in shock about the whole thing.”
Reardon was referring to Patton’s death on Thursday in Farrell, Pa. The 20-year-old former student at the University of Pittsburgh was found dead at his mother’s residence in the 600 block of Beechwood Avenue in Farrell.
The death was confirmed a suicide by Southwest Regional Police Chief Riley Smoot, who said police were called to the residence at 7:13 a.m.
The official time of death was 8:06 a.m. Mercer County Coroner J. Bradley McGonigle ruled the cause of death asphyxiation by hanging.
Patton was a 2011 graduate of Poland High School where he played football and basketball, and ran track for two years. Considered the Mahoning Valley’s top football prospect for the 2011 class, Patton earned a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh.
“I hope people can remember what a great athlete he was, what a great competitor he was and what an idol he was to so many people,” said former Poland standout Luke Wollet, now a junior safety at Kent State. “I hope that doesn’t get lost.
“There’s so many young kids who grew up playing in their backyards wanting to be Darius Patton.”
Read more about his life in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.