After a solid season as a sophomore, Patrick Rendleman was thrust into the spotlight this year as the Mustang's starting quarterback.
Rendleman rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns against perennial power and rival Newton-Conover in a narrow 28-21 loss.
"It felt good to come and play well my first game at quarterback," he said. "Obviously, I am all about winning games, but for now I just want to concentrate on getting better every week and being a leader for my team."
Rendleman will get his opportunity to prove just how good he can be, as the Mustangs travel to Bandys this week and SouthLake Christian next Friday, before taking on the always challenging Southern Piedmont Conference slate, which includes archrival Lincolnton.
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Rendleman is not only a standout football player at East Lincoln, he's also an all-conference forward on the East Lincoln basketball team and a key member of the SPC champion Mustang track team. He's even a member of the East Lincoln JV baseball squad.
While Rendleman's main goal is to play football collegiately, for now, he is trying to live up the reputation and example set by his older brother, Keith.
Keith, 19, a 2008 graduate of East Lincoln, was the all-time leading scorer in Mustang basketball history, an all-state wide receiver on the football team and a key member of both the baseball and track teams.
Keith averaged 5.9 points and 6.1 rebounds for UNC Wilmington's basketball squad as a freshman last year.
Rendleman said he has a lot to live up to.
"I guess playing all the sports is just a God-given talent for me and my brother," said Rendleman, a junior at East Lincoln. "Being his little brother put me in the spotlight immediately. I've tried to take advantage of all that, while still making a name for myself."
Rendleman began making that name last year when he earned all-SPC as both a free safety on the football team and a forward on the basketball squad. He was an integral part of both the Mustang offense - at wide receiver - and defense as a safety for the 11-3 team.
In basketball, Rendleman averaged 10 points and nine rebounds on a Mustang team that went 21-7. He also did well in the spring, playing left field on the JV baseball team and being a solid performer in the 200- and 400-meter relay teams, as well as the triple jump on a Mustang squad that once again dominated SPC track.
"They're both cut out of the same cloth as athletes and people," said East Lincoln football coach Mike Byus. "Keith was one of the best football and basketball players we've ever had. Patrick is becoming a great player as well."
But no matter how good he gets, Rendleman remembers what his brother and father, Keith Sr., have taught him.
"I try to stay humble and not get a big head or get cocky," said Rendleman. "There is always room for improvement."
While there is no question Rendleman is a great athlete, the East Lincoln junior is equally as talented off the field.
"I think what sets him apart is how good a person he is. He is one of the most coachable kids we've had, he's an A-B student and he never gets into any trouble," said Byus.
Rendleman's talent is what he hopes will help him get to play college football. At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and still growing, Rendleman is already on several colleges' radars and the offers will likely follow this school year.
"My goal this year is to get better athletically in all the sports," said Rendleman.
But first, Rendleman has nearly two more seasons to show how good he can be at East Lincoln. He says one of his major motivations is to try to be as good as his brother.
"I've been known as Keith's younger brother for a long time," said Rendleman. "It feels pretty good to start coming out of his shadow."