Ryan Pettway has spent his time at Wilson High proving he’s more than just a baseball player, and more than just Zach Pettway’s little brother.
“When I’m at baseball I’m always Zach’s younger brother,” Pettway said. “Zach is his own legend. Even to a lot of teachers I’m Zach’s little brother.”
Zach Pettway was a baseball star at Wilson, and was named a Freshman All-American at UCLA last year. Ryan is also pitcher, but he’s relished the opportunity to blaze his own trail as a quarterback on the football field.
“When it comes to football, because most of these guys don’t know (Zach), I’m able to be myself,” Pettway said.
Pettway, 16, started five games as a sophomore last season in just his second year of tackle football. He’ll be back behind center again tonight when Wilson hosts St. Anthony in the Battle For 7th Street. The junior signal caller is competing 58 percent of his passes this season for 472 yards and three touchdowns in three games.
Growing up in Long Beach with an elite athlete as an older brother put Pettway on the path to playing sports with the older kids.
“That made me a lot tougher, more mentally than physically,” Pettway said. “I was better than them at some sports, and I just had to get used to them talking trash. I couldn’t just throw a tantrum and fight them every time. I had to just get mentally tougher.”
“It’s been awesome watching him play,” Zach said. “I remember when he first got to high school, kids used to always come up at school and tell me, ‘your brother is gonna be special one day’.”
Like his older brother, Ryan Pettway is a hard-throwing righty with a steely stare on the mound. He had a 1.57 ERA last season while helping the Bruins reach the semifinals for the first time since 2011.
“He’s a bull dog,” Wilson football coach Mark Ziegenhagen said. “Like any pitcher on the mound, he has the ball in his hand every time. He’s in control. I think as a quarterback he kind of has that same attitude. He’s emerging as a leader, and building that trust factor with this team.”
We caught up with Pettway this week before practice to ask him the tough questions…
Tough Questions With Long Beach Wilson Quarterback Ryan Pettway
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Question: What is your favorite subject in school?
Answer: Definitely English. AP Lit, I love it.
Q: Do you have an all-time favorite book?
A: I was really into The Boxcar Children as a kid. I also read all of the Harry Potter novels. The second one was my favorite. Voldemort still gives me goosebumps.
Q: Do you watch a lot of television?
A: I watch Blackish a lot, and I used to be a really big How I Met Your Mother fan. I used to wait for it every night.
Q: What is your favorite Barney Stinson quote?
A: “Legend, wait for it because you’re lactose intolerant, DAIRY!”
Q: Netflix or Hulu?
A: Hulu. It’s the only one that has South Park.
Q: What is your favorite Eric Cartman quote?
A: I can’t say it on here.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: We collect mini bats from every Major League Baseball stadium we go to. I have about 20, and it’s a really cool collection. We still need Houston, Kansas City and Milwaukee… hopefully my bother will be at all of them in about five years.
Q: If you and your brother went head-to-head as pitcher and batter, who would come out on top?
A: Definitely me. For one, his 90 MPH or whatever, I could hit it out of the park. And I know he can’t hit my curve ball, so it just works out.
Q: How are you and your brother different?
A: I’m more of the rah-rah type. He’s always humble. I’m the only person who can ever get to him. I’m the only person who has ever ticked him off.
Q: Do you enjoy the great outdoors?
A: For the first time this summer I got to go shooting with my dad in Arizona, and we went ATVing too. I’m not really a fishing or camping guy, but man that was fun.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: If it all goes as planned I’d love to be my brothers agent or manager. Also, being his biggest fan would work out. I’d also like to be a journalist or sports writer. That’s if sports don’t work out for me, of course.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Long Beach?
A: The history that we have. The athletes, the artists and the actors. Our city, there is nothing like it. It’s great.