Kalen Shoemaker started playing quarterback when he was in fifth grade. Looking back, he admits he wasn’t very good.
“I was just starting out and didn’t know much about football,” Shoemaker said. “I just knew I wanted to be able to throw the ball.”
Now a freshman at Legend High School in Parker, Colo., Shoemaker has come a long ways as a QB. That was quite evident in July, when he won the Duel.
“It means a lot,” Shoemaker said. “It’s a total confidence booster, to know you went to the Duel for the first time and won something you didn’t even know existed. I didn’t even know the Duel existed before I got invited to it. To win, it makes me just certain about what I can do. I’m not the tallest or strongest quarterback, so showing everybody I can play helped me a lot as a person.”
Buoyed by his success at QBA’s international competition in Atlanta, Shoemaker cruised into his season as the starting QB for Legend High School’s freshman team.
While he missed a pair of games due to injury, Shoemaker still managed to have a prolific season, passing for 2,480 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushing for nearly 900 yards in eight games. At Legend H.S., freshmen are ineligible to play varsity football.
“My goal this season was to do the best I could to start on varsity my sophomore year,” Shoemaker said. “I wanted to get noticed so I tried to play the best I could. That was my focus.”
Suffice to say, Shoemaker is playing much better now than he did back in fifth grade. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed I’ve been able to throw the ball with more touch and more control and more power,” he said. “Being able to throw the ball has gotten easier for me, being able to read the defenses has gotten easier for me. Just the overall knowledge has gotten easier for me as I’ve progressed. I would say the thing that has helped me the most is just knowing football better. My strength as a quarterback is passing, really. That’s who I am, I’m a passer. Even if it’s fourth down, I’m comfortable throwing the ball. I’m always comfortable throwing the ball.”
Training with QBA is going to make Shoemaker even more comfortable, and more effective, under center. He attended his first camp earlier this year at Legend H.S. and earned the Duel invite.
“It was the first time I had heard of QBA so I thought I would give it a try,” Shoemaker said. “What I learned at that camp, I did notice it. And I started noticing what I learned more and more.”
Shoemaker certainly was noticed during his showing at the Duel, when he finished first in a talented group of incoming freshmen. “My goal going into the Duel was just being who I am and playing how I know I can play,” he said. “People were invited from all over the country. I’m not saying … I went in thinking I’m the best passer there so I was just trying to do the best I could and show everybody what I could do.”
When the season kicked off, there were only three freshmen on the Durango (Colo.) High School varsity football team. Jordan Woolverton was one of them.
“I can handle it,” he said. “It’s awesome.”
Woolverton backed up those words, and he initially was getting playing time at wide receiver and free safety for the Demons while working his way up to starting varsity quarterback.
Before fracturing his non-throwing hand, Woolverton started two games at QB for Durango and completed an impressive 73 percent (47 for 64) of his passes for 557 yards. The rising talent threw for 6 touchdowns and was not intercepted.
Woolverton’s hand healed in time to allow him to return for the end of the season, and he didn’t miss a beat. Starting the final regular season game for Durango, a must win, Woolverton was 12-for-17 for 167 yards and a touchdown.
He also started both playoff games for the Demons and was a combined 30-for-41 for 334 yards and 5 touchdowns.
For the season, Woolverton was 89-for-122 for 1,057 yards and 12 TDs. Showing remarkable poise for a freshman; he threw only 1 interception and finished the year with a 128 QB rating.
Woolverton also enjoyed astounding success playing quarterback at Miller Middle School in Durango. He played on undefeated teams as a seventh and eighth grader.
In 2016, Woolverton helped the Angels win the San Juan Basin Football League championship while passing for over 1,100 yards and 19 touchdowns. He only had 1 interception.
Woolverton also started at free safety for Miller Middle School on a defense that yielded just 4 touchdowns all season. “I’m super happy with how I played last season,” he said. “Coming into high school, I was really confident coming off of that big year.”
Woolverton was very busy this season. When he wasn’t playing three positions on varsity, he started at QB for Durango’s junior varsity team.
Competing in his first Duel in July only bolstered Woolverton’s already sky high level of confidence. He finished second among incoming freshmen at QBA’s showcase event in Atlanta.
“My expectations going in, it was my first time so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Woolverton said. “I just wanted to do my best and get better while I was there. It was awesome to see the other competition from around the nation. It made me feel good to know that I could actually do something like this.”
Woolverton qualified for the Duel at Denver’s PSP camp in June. He started training with QBA after his seventh grade season at Miller Middle School.
“QBA has been a tremendous help,” Woolverton said. “They’ve taught me correct throwing motions, taught me the positions of where my arm is supposed to be while I’m throwing, footwork and a lot of other stuff.”
Three are ony three freshman on the Durango (Colo.) High School varsity football team this season. Jordan Woolverton is one of them.
“I can handle it,” he said. “It’s awesome. I’m enjoying it.”
Woolverton enjoyed astounding success playing quarterback at Miller Middle School in Durango. He played on undefeated teams as a seventh and eighth grader.
Last season, Woolverton helped the Angels win the San Juan Basin Football League championship while passing for over 1,100 yards and 19 touchdowns. He only had 1 interception.
Woolverton also started at free safety for Miller Middle School on a defense that yielded just 4 touchdowns all season. “I’m super happy with how I played last season,” he said. “Coming into high school, I’m really confident coming off of that big year.”
Woolverton is going to be busy this season. When he’s not starting at quarterback for Durango High School’s junior varsity team, the 5-foot-11, 160-pounder is going to be backing up the varsity QB while also getting reps at free safety and wide receiver.
After such a successful run at the middle school level, Woolverton has set high goals as he moves into high school. “On the JV team, my goal is obviously to keep the undefeated streak going,” he said. “I want to play good, throw around 20 touchdowns and do my best so we can win the championship again. I also want to be up starting varsity by the end of the season, and I think it’s possible with the way I’m going right now.”
Competing in his first Duel in July only bolstered Woolverton’s already sky high level of confidence. He finished second among incoming freshmen at NFA’s showcase event in Atlanta.
“My expectations going in, it was my first time so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Woolverton said. “I just wanted to do my best and get better while I was there. It was awesome to see the other competition from around the nation. It made me feel good to know that I could actually do something like this.”
Woolverton qualifed for the Duel at Denver’s PSP camp in June. He started training with NFA after his seventh grade season at Miller Middle School.
“NFA has been a tremendous help,” Woolverton said. “They’ve taught me correct throwing motions, taught me the positions of where my arm is supposed to be while I’m throwing, footwork and a lot of other stuff.”
SOCIAL MEDIA INFO:
Twitter is @jjwool10
Instagram is jordan.woolverton
Facebook is /jordan.woolverton.5
His mother, Kathleen Woolverton
Twitter is @kwoolverton6
Instagram is kwoolverton
Facebook profile is /kathleen.woolverton.9
Not only has Rottinghaus been playing football for seven years, he’s attended nine NFA camps since 2012. Combine his experience on the field, his NFA training and natural ability, and it adds up to a QB with a very bright future.
“Peyton is a great kid on his way to becoming a great quarterback,” NFA’s JC Boice said. “We are behind this kid!”
Playing for the Johnston (Iowa) Youth Football League Packers last season, Rottinghaus connected on 48 of 89 passes for 633 yards and 7 touchdowns while helping his team to a 3-3 record. He also played 4 all-star games.
Saving his best for last, Rottinghaus completed 11 of 16 passes for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Packers’ final game of the regular season. He also rushed for another TD.
With 3 minutes left in the first half of the regular season finale, Rottinghaus drove his team 80 yards and connected on a 25-yard Hail Mary TD pass with no time left on the clock.
“It was a really good season,” Rottinghaus said. “I liked playing with my teammates, my best friends.”
As he prepares for his seventh grade season in the Johnston Youth Football League, Rottinghaus is working to improve his running game while cutting down on interceptions. Continuing to train with NFA will only help him achieve those goals.
Jimmy Rottinghaus coached his son during Peyton’s first six seasons and remembers seeing information about NFA.
“Back in 2012, my wife Emily received an email,” Jimmy recalled. “Peyton had an interest in learning how to be a quarterback and we were looking for someone to teach him. There was a camp in Lincoln and we originally though it was associated with the University of Nebraska. I had a work commitment so my wife took Peyton and she called me two hours into the camp and said, ‘This is something that is totally not what I expected.’ They’re intense camps and NFA has really helped Peyton in his development.”
Training with NFA and working one-on-one with coach Todd Espeland has had a monumental impact on the young QB.
“NFA has helped me a lot,” Peyton Rottinghaus said. “I’ve become a football player on the field and a better leader on and off the field because of all of the things I’ve learned. My confidence level is really high.”
At an NFA camp in Denver last year, Rottinghaus learned the F4 (Frame and Form, Flow and Fire) and incorporated the system into his game. It’s been a huge help.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on it,” he said. “It’s helping me a lot. It’s helped me increase the velocity on my throws, and the ball is jumping out of my hand.”
Kole Manley already has the look of a big winner, both on and off the football field.
As the starting quarterback for the Eudora Cardinals in Kansas, Manley helped his fifth-grade team go 8-1 this season while winning the Lawrence Youth Football league championship. “I am happiest about winning our league championship because that was my personal goal as well as our team goal,” Manley said. “We worked hard as a team to accomplish this goal. Having an outstanding offensive line and great receivers like (Braylen) Hoobler, (Logan) Sullivan and (Adrian) Seals are the main reasons for our success.”
The best quarterbacks are always passing around the praise, and Manley is no different. But he had a big season for the Cardinals, connecting on 45 of 60 passes for just under 1,800 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Manley also ran for 600-plus yards with 8 rushing touchdowns. The young QB’s versatility really showed in the championship game, when he completed 9 of 12 passes while throwing 4 touchdowns to Hoobler and running for 2 more scores.
He is still in the early stages of his career, but Manley is already showing he’s a quarterback to keep an eye on. “I have played football for seven seasons now, with the last four being tackle,” Manley said. “I have been the quarterback for six of those seasons. I like playing quarterback because I am the one that all my teammates lean on to keep calm and make the best decisions under pressure.”
In addition to his success on the football field, Manley is straight-A student at Eudora Elementary School. As he’s learned from Cardinals coaches and the NFA staff, getting good grades is crucial for players at all levels that are one day hoping to land college football scholarships.
Training with NFA has helped numerous QBs realize their dreams of playing in college. Manley joined up with NFA last year.
“I attended my first NFA camp in Denver,” he said. “NFA has helped me learn how to self correct my throwing technique, which helps me with my accuracy.”
Manley got an invite to the Duel in July and he finished fifth among incoming fourth/fifth graders. “Since it was my first time attending the Duel, I was not sure what to expect,” he said. “I knew my goal was to finish in the Top 5 and I accomplished that. Finishing fifth in the Duel gave me a lot of confidence to perform under pressure going into the season. I’m happy with that, but it is not enough. I continue to work on my accuracy and decision making.”
With his impressive fifth-grade season in the books, Manley is looking forward to getting even better at quarterback. “I will always be working on my accuracy and the ability to read defenses so I can find the open receivers quicker,” he said. “I feel that my ability to stay calm under pressure and perform for the best of the team is what my strong points are. I am also looking forward to attending the NFA camp in Denver again this year and I hope to get invited to the Duel again, where my goal is to win.”
While he’s already making a name for himself in football, Manley is a multi-sport athlete. “I made the Kansas United basketball team and am one of the starters because of my hard work on defense and my passing,” he said. “I have played baseball and wrestled in the past but plan to focus most of my time on football, basketball and pole vaulting.”
As the starting freshman quarterback at Legend High School in Parker, Colorado, Dylan Emery is focused on his current season, but he understandly keeps an eye on the future.
“We want to win as many games as we can this season,” Emery said “And one of our team goals is to come together more for next year. We all want to get that chemistry going so we can roll more when we’re with the JV and the varsity.”
Emery has been impressive for the Titans’ freshman team in the early going. In the first two games, he combined for 250 passing yards and 4 touchdowns and rushed for nearly 60 yards and 2 more scores.
The 6-foot, 160-pounder is comfortable throwing or running in Legend’s spread offense.
“With our offense, I like it more than being just under center,” Emery said. “We run out of the shotgun all the time and it’s a faster paced offense. We get out there, get moving and get going.”
With the ability to do damage throwing or running the football, Emery has a very bright future with the Titans.
“When I throw, I have two really good wide receivers that can go and get the ball,” he said. “They can make some moves after the catch and gain extra yardage. Running the ball, I like that and I can get some extra yards. It also opens up the passing game and the rest of our running game. If the defense thinks I’m going to run, I can come up to the line of scrimmage and find an open receiver.”
Like all talented quarterbacks, Emery realizes there is more to the position that moving the offense up and down the field. “I try to be the best leader I can be,” he said.
Emery has been training with NFA the past two years, and that has helped him develop as a QB and a strong leader. “NFA has helped me with a lot of things,” he said. “They helped me with gap escapes, they helped me see the defense better. The coverage tests they do really help, especially when you’re up at the line before you’re about to make your calls. You can see how the defense is lined up and know how to check out if you have to. You also know what to tell the coaches.”
Emery attended his first Duel this summer and did very well, finishing second among incoming freshmen.
“I just wanted to compete and see how I stacked up against the other kids that were there,” he said. “I feel like I did great overall. I feel like I could have done a little bit better, but for the first time at the Duel and with all of the new obstacles there, it was great.”
Emery’s Duel success has carried over into his first high school season. “I think the Duel let me know that my skills are becoming more developed,” he said. “The competition was really high there and it was a great challenge for me. Competing the way I did really helped my confidence.”
Taden Blaise has been training with NFA since he was 7 years old, and he’s attened almost more camps than he can recall.
Now entering his junior year in high school, Blaise still remembers the first camp he attended. It was at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
“Coach (Darin) Slack was there and he asked all of us, ‘Who wants to play college football?’” Blaise said. “I raised my little hand as high as I could.”
It was a dream back then, but Blaise is well on his way to making it a reality.
That’s not to suggest his journey to the next level has been easy. Just like football, real life often presents challenges that must be overcome in order to ensure success.
Blaise has already optioned his way through a series of challenges while achieving remarkable success.
As a freshman, he was the starting varsity quarterback at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver.
“I came into a rebuilding program with a new coaching staff and a lot of new kids,” Blaise said. “On the offense, 9 of the 11 starters were freshmen. But we all came in and had high hopes.”
In his first varsity start, against Littleton, Blaise set Denver Public School records for most passing yards in a game with over 320 and the longest completed pass, 88 yards. “That was really cool,” he said.
Through his first four games at Thomas Jefferson, Blaise was the leading freshman passer in the nation. In the fifth game, his season came to an abrupt halt.
“I was on track to break Colorado state records for passing yards and touchdowns,” Blaise said. “Due to some complications, nothing I did on or off the field, administrative issues I guess you could say, it didn’t happen. I couldn’t stop it, and I couldn’t help it.”
So Blaise and his family relocated to Florida, and he played at powerhouse Apopka High School last season as a sophomore and was a member of the Class 8A state champions.
“I didn’t start, but I played a lot,” said Blaise, who passed for nearly 600 yards and rushed for over 100 with Apopka. “It was a very high class, traditional school with some really good guys and people I will look up to for the rest of my life. The head coach Rick Darlington, he is a great person, a great coach. I learned a lot.”
‘Excited for what’s ahead’
When his family had to relocate back to Colorado, Blaise landed at Chaparral High School, and he is preparing for his junior season.
“We have a team with high hopes,” Blaise said. “Coming back to Colorado, it’s big. This year is a good year for me. I hope I get the chance to help this team get to the playoffs. I’m excited for what’s ahead for me and for my team this season.”
To prepare for his junior season, Blaise played for Team USA, he’ll play in the International Game next summer and he also received an invite to play at the National Underclassmen Combine.
Blaise also received an invite to his second Duel this summer and he finished first among incoming juniors at NFA’s showcase event.
“I was third at the Duel last year, so to finish first is an incredible achievement for me,” Blaise said. “It defintely added to my persona as a quarterback. It was really cool because it put me on the map a little more.”
Deep NFA roots
Blaise has been attending NFA camps since he was 7 years old.
“They have bee huge for me,” he said. “I came in as the youngest you can be with NFA, I was almost 8. I was young for my grade. I kept going and going and going to NFA camps and I’ve been to over 60. I’ve also done a lot of training with coach Slack in Florida. All in all, they have been a huge influence on me.”
While he is focused on his junior season at Chaparral, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Blaise is also preparing himself to play QB in college.
“It’s becoming more and more of a reality every day,” he said. “I’m very excited to have the chance to play in college. I have many schools that are interested in me coming to visit. It’s no longer just my young kid dream. In a few years, I’ll be off and will sitting in dorm rooms with guys a lot bigger than me. It is going to be great.”
Well aware of the challenges that lay ahead in the 2014 season, Max Marsh made sure he was prepared to clear any hurdle.
The seventh grader prepped for his season with the West Middle School Raiders by attending NFA camps in Boston and Philadelphia with other Blackshirt athletes and JC Boice, NFA’s Senior Level, C4 Certified Coach and Director of Operations. The summer tour wrapped up with a stop in Massillon, Ohio, for NFA’s showcase event – the Duel.
“That was just a great experience,” said Shawn Marsh, Max’s father and the Head Football Coach at Grand Junction Central High School in Colorado along with being on the NFA coaching staff.
“It was really fun,” he said. “I was competing and hanging out with all the Blackshirts, making new friends. It helped me a lot. Going to the camps and competing at the Duel, it helped me compete for a position on our team.”
Playing with a mix of seventh and older eighth graders for the West Raiders, Marsh split time at quarterback with the returning incumbent eighth grade starter and helped lead West to a perfect 9-0 record capped by a Super Bowl triumph in the Mesa County Junior Youth Football League.
“It was a really good season,” he said. “There were a lot of eighth graders on the team and I was a little nervous because the other quarterback was an eighth grader. I just had to compete every day and I think that helped make me a lot better.”
Marsh also played free safety on a defense that allowed only 2 touchdowns all season.
But quarterback has always been his primary position, and Marsh is skilled enough to have made North Denver’s FBU seventh grade team. The National Tournament starts the first weekend of December, with a trip to the title game in Naples, Fla., the ultimate goal.
It’s been a four-hour drive from Grand Junction to Denver each weekend for practice, but the extra effort has been worth it.
“I actually kind of enjoy it,” Marsh said. “The drive is long, but I’ve gotten a chance to meet other players and compete on a new team. It’s exciting because you get to see kids from around the state and I get to see how I stack up against them.”
Nod to NFA
Training with NFA over the summer, competing in the Duel and playing against eighth graders for West Middle School helped Marsh prepare for his latest challenge.
“I think it really helped me become mentally tough,” he said. “And it’s having the attitude that if you get hit, get right back up. I’m hoping I can go out and play my best.”
Training with NFA since he was in fourth grade and joining the Blackshirt program has already helped Marsh become the best QB he can be.
“NFA has helped me a tremendous amount,” he said. “Reading coverages is key and they helped me with that. If you can read coverages, there’s no easy way the defense is really going to stop the route you want to throw. Our (Raiders) coach would let us check down and I don’t know how many times we scored off of checking it to a route that was open. After that, it was just a matter of getting the ball there. And as for my mechanics, I was probably throwing 25 yards when I started with NFA. In practice this season, I think I threw 40-45 yards and my ball speed really got higher.”
Trent Graves has skills, attitude to make an impact
Each and every day, Trent Graves taps a sign hanging in the garage at his home in Boise, Idaho. It reads: “A winner is a dreamer that never quits.”
Graves will never quit trying to become the best quarterback he can be. Already, the seventh grader is a very good QB.
Graves finished second in his age group at the Duel in July. The past two years, he placed fourth in NFA’s showcase event in Massillon, Ohio.
Last year, he played quarterback for the Boulder Bears seventh grade team in Colorado despite being a sixth grader. Graves passed for 932 yards in eight games.
Moving to Idaho this year, Graves was hit with a double dilemma.
Willing to sacrifice
His new school, East Junior High, didn’t have enough players to field a seventh grade team. And the eighth grade team already had a starting quarterback in place.
So, what did Graves do? He didn’t pout or sulk. Instead, the son of a former college football player and current coach – Tim Graves – decided to make the best of a difficult situation.
Graves is playing defensive back for East’s eighth grade team. “I was really disappointed at first, but sometimes you just have to sacrifice for your team,” he said. “It’s not all about me, so I’m just trying to do the best I can.”
With an attitude like that, it’s easy to see why Graves has already been so successful and why his future is so bright. It’s also easy to see why Graves has enjoyed training with NFA and going to Duels the past three years.
“It’s a blast going to camps,” he said. “But more than anything, they’ve taught me how to be a good leader and a good man. It’s not all about being a quarterback and I appreciate that so much.”
Placing second in the Duel this summer after back-to-back finishes in fourth place tells you Graves has the skills to be an impact quarterback. “It helps my confidence a lot,” he said. “But I just try to be the best quarterback I can for the team. I try not to think about it too much, but it does help.”
While he is playing defense this season, Graves continues to work on his QB skills. He’ll eventually be attending Rocky Mountain High School, and Graves has been working with varsity Head Coach Scott Criner on the weekends. He also throws with his dad.
“We work on drills and stuff to keep me fresh,” Graves said. “And throwing so much with my dad, it helps me get my technique down.”
Working with NFA and receiving invites to the past thtee Duels has also helped Graves stay sharp. “My goal is to learn and much as I can, get my techniques right and keep trying to get better,” said the 5-foot-6, 135-pounder. “I always want to win everything and I think I did pretty good at the Duel this year. I am competitive and that helps to keep motivating me to keep grinding and don’t quit.”
Ready for return
He might be playing defense this season, but Graves is going to be ready when he does return to the other side of the ball. “Keeping my team focused in tight situations is one of the reasons I really like playing quarterback,” he said. “And I love throwing the ball. It’s probably the most fun thing for me during a game. But you also have to hand off the ball to earn those passes.”
Graves is a tireless worker, and he continues to make adjustments as a quarterback. “I’m working on improving my footwork to where everything is automatic,” Graves said. “Sometimes, if I don’t set my hallway right, my arm getting to zero will be off and my throw will be off. The ball won’t get there.”
Eventually getting back to playing QB helps Graves stay motivated. “I’m really anxious,” he said. “I just enjoy playing quarterback and it’s really fun for me.
And Coach Criner is really helping me a lot. He’s a really good coach. He’s coached at the college level and has really helped develop a lot of good quarterbacks.”
Trenton Rohman: Left is right
Trenton Rohman started attending NFA camps when he was in eighth grade. Needless to say, he was hardly a finished product at quarterback.
“The first camp I went to with NFA, they gave us a test on coverages and I got a 13 out of 20,” Rohman said. “During the Duel last summer, I got a perfect score. I’ve really improved as a quarterback since going to NFA. Just knowing coverages has helped me a lot, and my mechanics are a lot better.”
Rohman, who will be a junior at Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colorado next season, has improved to the point where he finished second in the Duel among incoming sophomores last summer. “I honestly didn’t think I’d be in the top at all,” Rohman said. “I just kind of went because it was a cool experience to have. When they called my name for the finals, I was pretty happy.”
Boosted by his success in one of NFA’s showcase events, Rohman played with the varsity and JV for Castle View this past season. He was the starting JV quarterback and threw 16 touchdowns while rushing for 4 more scores. “The JV season went really well,” Rohman said.
It didn’t end there. Rohman played special teams for the varsity and also got a look at quarterback in three games. “With the varsity, there was a senior and junior in front of me,” Rohman said. “They didn’t want to throw me in too early because they had guys that had been in the program longer, so they kind of eased me in. They just wanted to develop me, let me get used to the speed at the varsity level. This next season, I’m looking to play varsity full-time.”
Rohman is inching up to 6-foot-2 and he weighs 170 pounds. He is also a left-handed quarterback, which he uses to his advantage.
“It’s definitely a different look for the defense, but it’s also a little different for the receivers,” Rohman said. “It takes a little bit of time for them to get used to it. But I think being left-handed can make it tough on defenses because they’re used to playing against so many right-handed quarterbacks so they have to scheme a little differently against a left-hander. I’ll use anything I can to get that edge against a defense.”
Up for a challenge
Rohman is always looking for an edge to help his team win, and that will continue as he enters his junior season at Castle View. “I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “Adversity’s been around my life since I was little, so I’m not scared of anything. I accept a challenge. If someone tells me I can’t do it, it just makes me work 10 ties harder to prove them wrong.”
When he does get regular snaps at the varsity level, Rohman is going to be difficult for opposing defenses to handle. Not only is he a skilled passer, he can also tuck the football away and run.
“I definitely like passing the ball,” said Rohman, who has been playing QB since he was 6 years old. “I’m more of a scramble and look down field kind of quarterback but I’m not afraid to run either because that’s something I’ve always had to do. My speed’s developing. It’s not great, but I know where to go and my vision’s pretty good.”
Between now and his junior season, Rohman is looking to take his game to an even higher level. “I just have to work on timing with the receivers, speed and recognition with defenses,” he said. “I know coverages pretty well, but it’s just a matter of putting the ball on the spot where I know it needs to go.”
Dalton Keene’s on the move
Heading into the 2013 season, Chatfield High School located outside Denver was rated as one of the top teams in Colorado’s large (Class 5A) division. There wasn’t much room for freshmen on the roster, but Dalton Keene got a call from the varsity when the playoffs rolled around.
After the Chargers beat Rocky Mountain H.S. in the opening round, Keene played special teams in the second round against Pomona. Look for his role to expand greatly as a sophomore.
“Going up with the varsity, it was a great experience and a lot of fun,” Keene said. “I’m glad they gave me that opportunity to get on the field and play.’
Keene spent the majority of the season quarterbacking Chatfield’s freshman team, and he led the Chargers to a 7-3 record. Exploiting his great size (6-foot-3, 185 pounds), Keene connected on 77 of 128 passes for 870 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Operating out of a hurry-up spread offense, he also ran the football 82 times for 482 yards.
While the Chargers’ offense was designed for throwing out of the pocket, Keene leaned on his track experience and didn’t hesitate to tuck the ball away and take off. Of his 82 carries, 95 percent came on scrambles.
In a hurry
“I liked that we kind of had a hurry-up offense,” Keene said. “We’d get up to the line real quick and that gave us a lot of opportunities. As far as my strength playing quarterback, it’s probably scrambling out of the pocket and running because I can break tackles.”
Keene has been playing QB since he was in second grade, so he is completely comfortable playing the high profile position. “I just like the flexibility you get playing quarterback,” he said. “I can pass the football and also run when I need to.”
Next season, Keene is expected to start at linebacker for the Chatfield varsity, and he is also likely to play some H back due to his running skills. But he is still going to be involved at quarterback, possibly as the backup for the time being.
“I need to work on my passing game, but I’m always doing that,” Keene said. “I think my size helps me a lot because I can see over the line and see what defenses are doing and I can break tackles when I’m running.”
Keene has been working with NFA the past two years to improve his throwing mechanics, and he is well on his way to becoming a top-flight quarterback for the Chargers. He finished fourth in last summer’s Duel of the Dozens for incoming freshmen. “They’ve been great,” Keene said of NFA. “I can really tell the difference as far as before and after.”