Pearce earns athletic scholarship with Clan

Mission Secondary School’s Tanner Pearce signed his intent to play for SFU next season Monday afternoon as coach Kevin Watrin (left) and Tanner’s father and MSS principal

Mission Secondary School’s Tanner Pearce signed his intent to play for SFU next season Monday afternoon as coach Kevin Watrin (left) and Tanner’s father and MSS principal

Tanner Pearce is SFU-bound.The Mission Secondary School quarterback led the senior varsity team strongly this past season and has accepted and signed on the dotted line for an athletic scholarship to the Burnaby-based university.Despite getting some interest from American universities and UBC, he decided to throw his lot in with the Clan, and will be playing a combination outside linebacker/safety role.“My cousin Tom played there and I have friends who play there now,” along with the respect and admiration for Clan coach David Johnson, said Pearce, 17, as he explained his choice.The school switched from CIS into Division 2 NCAA last year, which framed another reason why the talented multi-sport athlete wanted to play for Simon Fraser.“[The Clan] tied with some of the top teams in the division,” said Pearce, including powerhouses from the United States.And it’s the opportunity to play game against American counterparts that excites the MSS senior.“The level of competition is so much greater and [Americans] seem to take it more seriously,” he said.Depending on his abilities and performance, Pearce may start, however, it’s more likely he’ll stay red-shirted, meaning he’ll practise with the team and dress for games, which still keep him eligible.Pearce aims to tailor his education towards an after-football future in architecture.MSS football coach Kevin Watrin was pleased to see his team leader offered a scholarship.“I’m proud of Tanner. He worked really hard the last number of years,” he said. “He is talented — he was the AA player of the year — and he does put in the work.”Watrin is satisfied others see Pearce’s potential too.“He’s mentally very tough and he’s really good at making plays out of nothing. His athleticism and intelligence and understanding of the game contribute to his performance,” he said. “He’s someone you can count on for years to come.”