LONGMONT – It’s rare that a sophomore gets the opportunity to start on a varsity football team, let alone at the quarterback position.
But Keegan Patterson can say that he’s done that.
The Longmont football team’s quarterback cut his teeth at the varsity level while doing his best to help the Trojans to a 6-5 record. Last fall, Patterson was the new guy there to support the older players on the team. Now that he’s a junior, the Trojans quarterback will take on more of a leadership role on top of his responsibilities on the field.
Given the unusual and unpredictable circumstances under which the 2020 season will take place, that leadership Patterson hopes to provide will be more important to his team’s success than ever.
“One of the big things for me is just overall leadership,” Patterson said. “We had a couple of seniors and juniors last year who did a really good job of helping me fit in and brought our young guys up into a positive culture. I’m just going to be about bringing everybody up and focusing on winning. You need 22 guys to win football games so I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page and working towards the common goal.”
A young but talented dual-threat quarterback, Patterson threw for 1,476 yards and 10 touchdowns while leading the Trojans with 687 rushing yards on 180 carries last season. He split time with then-senior Sage Yazzie until taking over as the Trojans’ full-time quarterback midway through the 2019 season.
Now that he’s to open the season in the starting spot under center, Patterson expects the Trojans to open up the passing game and let him throw the ball around the field a bit more. With how the team looks on paper in the limited preseason work it has had, Patterson also believes Longmont could become one of the top passing teams in the state.
“We’ve got four or five really good weapons at the skill positions and our O-line has been stepping up a lot in the offseason,” Patterson said. “We’re looking really good so we expect to be disciplined and really thrive this year. We’ll definitely still have that power run game that Longmont’s known for but I think we definitely will surprise people with what we do.”
Patterson certainly surprised Longmont head coach Doug Johnson last season with his ability to tone back his instincts as a natural born leader and figure out his place in the team’s existing culture as an underclassman last season. The veteran head coach saw this as a mature move in the team’s interest, especially while the Trojans were focused on supporting Yazzie, their senior leader, while he dealt with his father’s rapidly declining health.
“It’s unique to have a sophomore start anywhere, but especially at quarterback,” Johnson said. “Last year, we were dealing with Sage and all that was going on there. Keegan displayed a lot of toughness and he is a very, very smart player. His ability to pick things up quickly really played to his favor and he is very competitive. He can do a lot of things with his feet and throwing the ball.
“He’s got a chance to be a great quarterback in our system. We’ve had some great quarterbacks and we have very high expectations for Keegan.”
No one has higher expectations for Patterson than he has for himself.
Regardless of what expectations are met, or how many games the Trojans win or lose, Patterson said he and his teammates are going to have a 2020 season during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.
“Obviously, everybody’s just super excited to get back out there,” Patterson said. “Our guys have done a really good job adapting to the circumstances and making sure that we’re following the rules to minimize any risks that we have. There’s a lot of excited energy and we’re just happy to be playing.”
Longmont’s first game will be on the road against Brighton on Friday night.
BoCoPreps.com will produce full team-by-team capsules to be published online Saturday and in Sunday’s editions of the Boulder Daily Camera and Longmont Times-Call.