The Petlansky brothers will reunite in the fall.
According to their father, John Petlansky, Hunter and Cole Petlansky have accepted scholarships to attend Azusa Pacific University, where they’ll play football for the Division II program.
Cornerstones of the Central Catholic High football team for the past four years and key pieces in three CIF State championships, the Petlansky brothers chose Azusa Pacific over prestigious academic and athletic institutions.
Hunter played his freshman season at Columbia University in New York City, where he appeared in six games. He was featured mostly in the Lions’ Wildcat package, scoring two touchdowns on nine carries. He also caught two passes.
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“It wasn’t that I didn’t have opportunities on the field,” said Hunter, who is enrolled in summer school at Cal. “It was a fit thing.”
The 205-pound quarterback said it took a cross-country move to realize he wanted to be in California. He looks forward to playing in the Pacific time zone again, close enough for his parents to watch from the stands.
“Overall, I’m not a huge big-city person,” said Hunter, who grew up on 90-plus acres in rural Tracy. “I realized how much I appreciated California while in New York.”
Hunter led Central Catholic to three consecutive CIF State championships, including a 16-0 campaign and 56-21 victory over San Marino in the Open Division Small School State Bowl during his senior season.
In two-plus seasons at the helm of the Raiders' offense, Hunter was 234 of 434 for 4,245 yards, 43 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. While he didn't throw much in Roger Canepa’s run-heavy offense, Hunter was prolific in the big moments, where he posted a 17-0 record in the postseason.
Some of Petlansky’s best throws came in the playoffs. He extended a scoring drive in the 2016 Division III section final against Oakdale with a cross-body throw on the run to Cole, and then punctuated the drive with a touchdown run. Central Catholic won, 21-7.
Two weeks later, in the CIF State Bowl, Hunter lofted a pass toward the end zone for Cole, who won a jump ball on the goal line to make it 14-7. The highlight remains pinned to the top of Hunter's Twitter profile with the words: “There’s not many feelings like throwing your brother a touchdown in a state championship game.”
“When I found out Cole was going to Azusa, it was something I was excited about,” Hunter said. “It should be really fun to play with him.”
Hunter, who has shed 30 pounds since high school, will compete with senior-to-be Chad Jeffries for the starting spot or use a red shirt, saving a year of eligibility.
“I’m all in at Azusa,” Hunter said.
Central Catholic didn’t look far for a new quarterback upon Hunter’s graduation in 2016.
A wide receiver and defensive back, Cole was forced under center this past fall, guiding the Raiders to a share of their second consecutive Valley Oak League championship. Cole was 69 of 136 for 1,148 yards and seven touchdowns. He’ll return to wide receiver at Azusa Pacific.
Cole, who spurned a preferred walk-on opportunity at Oregon, will play his freshman season on an academic scholarship. He'll have a chance to earn an athletic supplement his sophomore year and beyond, according to John Petlansky.