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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) â€” Dale Mueller knew he was safe when he called Patrick Towles the best player in Kentucky after Highlandsâ€™ win Dec. 3 over Franklin-Simpson in the Class 4A championship.
Towles was selected as Kentuckyâ€™s Mr. Football 2011 by The Associated Press after voting across the state by 15 media members.
â€œItâ€™s a true honor to be considered the best player in the state of Kentucky,â€ said Towles, who collected nine votes ahead of Louisville Centralâ€™s Anthony Wales (three votes), Louisville Trinityâ€™s James Quick (two votes) and Johnson Centralâ€™s J.J. Jude (one vote) in the Player of the Year poll.
â€œThe only thing that really matters to me is winning,â€ Towles added. â€œI think the fact that I won three state championships â€” leading us to them â€” is why I got it.â€
A verbal commitment to the University of Kentucky, Towles threw for 3,820 yards and 42 touchdowns this season as Highlands notched its 21st state championship and fourth in a row. Mueller called Towles, who also rushed for 589 yards and 15 touchdowns, a â€œdynamicâ€ player.
Towles also threw just one interception in the Bluebirdsâ€™ 15 games.
â€œThatâ€™s like a misprint,â€ Mueller said. â€œThere may never have been a stat like that. Itâ€™s almost laughable. If high school coaches see that, theyâ€™d say, â€˜No, that canâ€™t be correct.â€™â€
Towles joins Highlands receiver Austin Sheehan, who will walk on at Kentucky, on the Kentucky All-State Football Team. Defensive lineman Devin Bruns and defensive back Drake Bruns represent the Bluebirds on the first-team defense.
Towles started his high school career as Highlandsâ€™ backup freshman team quarterback, a far cry from the best player in the state.
â€œNow heâ€™s winning awards,â€ Mueller said of Towles, also named the Paul Hornung Award winner and Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky. â€œHeâ€™s just that same humble guy who tries hard every day.â€
Towles came to spring football before his sophomore year and beat out the quarterback ahead of him as a freshman. He progressed to second string at the junior varsity level as a sophomore and had his named called with the Bluebirds playing then-No. 2 in the country Cincinnati St. Xavier on national television.
â€œI came in the St. X game as a skinny sophomore who probably weighed 180 pounds, but I just had great players around me,â€ Towles said.
Highlands beat St. Xavier, finished 15-0 in 2009, and Towles took the Bluebirdsâ€™ starting quarterback job from that point forward. Throughout his high school career, Towles passed for 7,429 yards and 73 touchdowns, and he lost just once.
As important as winning to Mueller is Towlesâ€™ personality â€” â€œ a man in the truest sense of the worldâ€ â€” which the Highlands coach attributed that to the quarterbackâ€™s upbringing.
On his motherâ€™s side of the family, Towlesâ€™ grandfather is Jim Bunning, former Major League Baseball pitcher and Kentucky state senator. On his fatherâ€™s side are three generations of police officers.
â€œIf you had to count on Pat for anything, you can just rely on him coming through for you â€” whatever it is,â€ Mueller said. â€œHeâ€™s like a 28-year-old man in so many ways, and heâ€™s also like a 7-year-old boy when it comes to sports. Heâ€™s just so happy to be a part of it. Games are so fun to him.â€
Towles reaffirmed his commitment to Kentucky after the state title game, saying, â€œIf I could write my name in stone right now I would.â€ The 6-foot-5, 232-pound quarterback will visit Kentucky officially on Friday. He said he remains â€œ150 percentâ€ on board with becoming a Wildcat.