A TALE OF TWO TOWNS; Chapter 3
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
This third and last chapter in a serial article takes an in-depth look at Pitt’s new transfer QB Ricky Town’s backstory and it is an interesting one. Usually when a player comes onto a school’s roster one takes a glance at where and when he played his previous football and then moves on. But in this case the more I read about Ricky Town the more interested, and then fascinated, I became so I started making phone calls to satisfy my curiosity about the young man. From there I felt his was a story that was waiting to be told in deeper terms.
In the first two chapters of this story about transfer quarterback Ricky Town Jr we wrote about Pitt’s football program and its history with in-transfer players under Head Coach Pat Narduzzi since his hire in 2015. We covered the quarterback situation Pitt was faced with during the 2017 season when transfer Max Brown came to Pitt from the University of Southern California to be the starter only to play well below expectations and then get injured in the sixth game.
That led to QB Ben DiNucci being called on and later the staff deciding to start the wunderkind true freshman QB Kenny Pickett for the last two regular season games, including a big upset of #2 Miami in the last game. Our five wins and seven losses showed what could happen when a starting QB goes down and the back-up QB isn’t talented enough to carry the team.
We also discussed Ricky Town’s course toward college ball as laid out by his father, Ricky Town Sr and Town’s difficult training regime. In this chapter we will continue that thread and look at what transpired to bring Town, once a 4* recruit and the nation’s #5 ranked QB, on his bumpy road to Pitt.
Ricky’s father did everything possible to turn his son into an “elite” QB from sixth grade on. Between flying 800 miles round trip twice a month to meet with self-proclaimed “QB Guru” Steve Clarkson and then actually moving the whole family to where Clarkson lived and individual practice sessions in his hometown Town Sr steered his son towards big-time college football with a bullet. But a lot of fathers want that for their sons and that isn’t an unusual story. However the extreme lengths at with the Town family went to set Ricky up for success came with a load of problems also. Most of which were emotional and mental as kids at such a young age are truly not equipped to deal with the outside pressures which the transference of wished for stardom from the father to the son brings.
A telling story about very young Ricky Town is that he’d disappear from inside the family home when he was five or six years old and his parents would see him climbing around the back walls with his Spiderman costume on. Then he reappears in the house in his regular clothes again and not mention he was outside. He obviously had a sense of fun and wonderment and felt he could do anything…
“I thought he was going to get hurt,” said Town’s father, Rick Sr. “Then he wouldn’t say a word and he would come back and be in normal clothes and he’d never mention it. It was all the time. He would disappear, you’d see Spiderman out on the wall and then he’d come back in and wouldn’t say a word. He honestly thought he was a superhero. He may still think he is. “
That ‘can do’ belief followed through to his introduction to high school ball when as a starting sophomore he had a year for the ages and Town quickly became a bright spot on almost every major college football program’s radar.
When I called Sportswriter Joe Curley of the Ventura County Star newspaper, who has been covering local high school and college football (along with many other Southern California sports) for over 20+ years to get his take on Ricky Town it was a very interesting conversation. As stated earlier Curley knows Town’s story intimately and has covered Ricky in both his schoolboy career at St. Bonaventure High School and later on when he returned to the area to play for Ventura County Community College (VCC). Curley was, for the most part, positive about Town but he also was honest about Town’s shortcomings over his young career.
Right off the bat he told me that during Town’s sophomore year at St. Bonaventure he was “the best high school quarterback I have ever seen.” Which is pretty heady praise considering Curley’s many years of covering the sport there and with all the great schoolboy football and college QBs who have come from that area.