Lars Pedersen got in the car and made the trip with his family from Cape Cod to a home in Milford with realistic expectations on what was in store.

“The plan was to attend St. Joseph High, and I thought it was going to be just another step on my path to college,” Pedersen said after the 6-0, 180-pound All-State football player signed his letter of commitment to attend Cornell University.

“What I never expected was the sense of family at the school, and with the team. I believe that combination of family and heart is reflected in those two state championships.”

St. Joseph High head coach Joe Della Vecchia said, “Lars came to town from Cape Cod and I saw the tape and knew he was going to be a good player.

“We haven’t played many freshmen over the years, but we needed a safety his first year and in his first game he knocked down four passes. He was a good player then and turned into a great player.

“Lars has scored the ball on the football field every way possible — kickoff, punt return, fumble recovery, catching the ball, running the ball and throwing the ball. Every way but on a safety, and I should probably look that up.”

When asked for a quick response what position he plays on the football field, Pedersen didn’t hesitate.

“Wide receiver,” he said. “That’s what I do best. As an athlete, I said to myself, ‘Why not do as much as I could.’ So I tried not to leave the field.”

His  4.51 speed in the 40-yard dash made him a dangerous contributor on both sides of the football, so the only break came on kickoffs and punts.
Pedersen caught 45 passes for 736 yards (16.4 per) and nine touchdowns. He threw for two scores, ran back punts (two) and kickoffs (two) for scores. He ran for 538 yards and nine TDs.

Defensively, Pedersen had 43 tackles and intercepted six passes.

Della Vecchia said, “Lars and Mufasha (Abdul Basir who signed with Central Connecticut State) were exceptional leaders. They were very goal oriented as individuals and for the team. They knew what was expected of each of them and put those expectations on their teammates.”
As a junior, Pedersen caught 61 passes for more than 1,000 yards.

“I knew those numbers would change,” he said of his senior year. “We were in a flux all season at quarterback, and with Mufasha, we were at our best running the football.”

Attending Cornell University, well, it was a no-brainer.

“It started in January of my junior year and I visited in April,” Pedersen said. “I was back in the summer and they offered me a spot on July 19.

“I had to wait for my transcript to be accepted and I had to write an essay (on how Cornell and Pedersen could help each grow).

“It took three weeks, maybe a month, and then coach David Archer contacted me and told me I had been accepted into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.”

Della Vecchia said, “Lars knew football was one way in, but he always wanted a strong academic school. Cornell is the best place for him.”