Past Loss to ND's Wimbush in High School Haunts Michigan's Gary, Partridge

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Past Loss to ND's Wimbush in High School Haunts Michigan's Gary, Partridge

Football

Past Loss to ND's Wimbush in High School Haunts Michigan's Gary, Partridge

ANN ARBOR, Mich — It was December 5, 2014 — a chilly night in New Jersey.

What would be considered late for college football was especially late for high school. But, given that it was the playoffs, the participants were excited to take part.

On one side was 2015 Jersey City (NJ) St. Peters Prep four-star dual-threat quarterback Brandon Wimbush. On the other? 2016 Paramus (NJ) Catholic five-star defensive end Rashan Gary, soon to be the consensus No. 1 player in his class.

It was the second year in a row that St. Peters Prep and Paramus Catholic met in the playoffs for the rights to a state championship. A familiar name was the head coach of the latter in both years: Michigan safeties coach Chris Partridge.

St. Peters Prep had Wimbush at the helm both years as well, but Paramus Catholic got the better of them in 2013, winning a Group 4 final championship, 13-6, based off the performance of enigmatic future Michigan star Jabrill Peppers.

In that game, Wimbush was just 4 of 7 for 61 yards and an interception. But, the next year, he would get his revenge.

In 2014, Wimbush went 18 of 32 for 161 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. His favorite targets were Fordham WR Corey Caddle and Alabama Crimson Tide-turned-Miami Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Rashan Gary played in that latter game, the one where Paramus Catholic lost 34-18, based off Wimbush’s heroics. Now, four years later, the two will line up against each other once again, with Wimbush the presumed starter for Notre Dame, and Gary at anchor for the Michigan Wolverines.

It’ll take place Week One in South Bend — but hearing the name Brandon Wimbush takes Gary back to 2014 New Jersey.

“I know Brandon — I played him in high school,” Gary said. “He’s the reason I don’t have a state championship. That’s all I’m gonna say.”

The former Paladins head coach is a little more even-handed when it comes to remembering those matchups against St. Peters Prep and Brandon Wimbush.

Though it was years ago, Chris Partridge remembers a lot about Wimbush and what it was like to face him. Having beaten him once and lost to him another, Partridge knows that the Wolverines will face a tough challenge should he be the man under center on Sept. 1.

“Battles man, yeah,” Partridge recalled. “What a great kid Wimbush is. Smart competitor. I got to play him twice – Rashan played him once. It was two unbelievable games, that would kinda go back and forth. He’s a guy that’s gonna come in, not gonna back down. He’s gonna compete. He’s gonna do stuff with his legs. Strong arm. He’s smart. He’ll get them in the right positions. That’s going to be an exciting one, for sure.”

Word on the street is that Brandon Wimbush had never been sacked until that 2014 championship game. But, Rashan Gary is credited with two in that game, having gotten to him twice.

It might be folklore at this juncture, that Wimbush couldn’t be taken down, but the soon-to-be formidable Wolverine had his number.

Partridge recalls that game, and as far as he remembers, that is what happened.

Maybe.

“I think so, yeah,” Partridge said. “I don’t really recall that much, but pretty sure he stood up Rashan a little bit and moved him around. I think he got a couple sacks on him. That might be true, yeah. I think I vaguely remember something like that.”

So, what are Gary’s emotions when it comes to facing Wimbush again?

Does the 2014 loss still stick in his head? Will it give him extra motivation?

Rashan isn’t exactly giving any answers there, yet simultaneously, he tells you everything you need to know.

“You’ll see on September 1st,” Gary said. “I don’t want to talk about it too much.”

The Week One kickoff between the Fighting Irish and Wolverines will take place at Notre Dame Stadium at 7:30PM.

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