Throughout the six-year tenure of the storied football program, the quarterback position has always been secured by great quarterbacks throughout the years, such as Brevinn Tyler, who is now a quarterback at Colorado Mesa, and now Kansas State quarterback Jaren Lewis. Harrison Keller has a chance to continue the trend and to follow the footsteps of the great quarterbacks that came before him.
Harrison Keller hadn’t started in a game before his senior season. Keller has surmounted the obstacle of being a first-year quarterback and has led the Spartans to many impressive wins so far this season with notable wins against both Hickman and Rock Bridge. Keller was also able to secure a dominant road win against Smith-Cotton and a win against Harrisonville as well. Keller is considered to be a dual-threat quarterback which is a QB that is able to run the ball at an efficient rate, as well as to throw the ball at a high rate of success. Before the start of the season, it was unclear to many who would be the starting quarterback come the home opener against Saint Louis University High School. Speculations arose that Keller and backup QB Khaleel Dampier were locked in a battle for the starting job. Keller was able to edge out Dampier right before the home opener and win the job.
Another key member of the football team that is also in his first year at his new job is head coach Attiyah Ellison. Ellison made it known how much of an impact it is to coach a first-year starter like Keller in his first season as head coach. “We’re in our first year together and I’m mostly a defensive-minded coach, so having somebody willing to learn the system and not have to unteach bad habits and unteach other past coaches’ instruction and I think it’s great that we started off together,” Ellison said.
While Keller has been nothing short of exceptional so far this season, every player has things that they’ve had to improve upon over time. Ellison commented on an aspect of Keller’s game that he believes he would like to see improved upon. “He did a lot of good things early in the season to where he would scramble to complete a pass, but going forward, heading to the playoffs, we’re looking for him to be able to make more plays inside of the pocket,” Ellison said.
Ellison makes a good point with that comment considering that the bulk of the competition is going to get tougher as the playoffs continue. Teams will be faster and stronger each game so making key throws inside of the pocket will be something that is crucial to the team.
According to Ellison, Keller is a very laid back, well-mannered kid. “He’s definitely a laid back personality. I’ve never seen the kid yell at anybody. He’s really just a go-with-the-flow guy,” Ellison said.
Many athletes across the world idolize an athlete or model their game after that particular athlete. But not Keller. According to Keller, he doesn’t like to model his game after anybody really and he just wants to be himself. “I’d rather not be remembered as somebody who likes to play like another person, instead, I’d like to be remembered for playing like Harrison Keller,” Keller said.
As mentioned earlier, in the six-year existence of the school, there have been two great quarterbacks that have led Battle far in the playoffs in their respective careers. Brevin Tyler led the Spartans to their first state title, in just the second year of the school’s existence and first year of eligibility in the state playoffs.
Jaren Lewis led the team to a pair of district championships, a few runs in the state playoffs, and a final four appearance in his senior year. Many athletes feel a lot of pressure having to follow up a long line of success, but not Keller. Keller commented on the amount of pressure that there is to him. “I do believe that there is some pressure for me, but for the most part, I and Khaleel have been ignoring all of the success from the past and just focusing on doing the best that we can,” Keller said.
Keller said he has had tremendous help throughout his career to get to where he is today. He credits offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Matthew Herman as a role model and a helping hand towards his success. “Coach Herman. Not even just my senior year, but throughout my whole high school career as well. He’s been my quarterback coach for 3 seasons now, so I know that any questions I have, I can go straight to him and he can answer them for me,” Keller said.
As we know though, life isn’t just football. As important as it is to many how athletes perform on the field, it’s just as important how they are when they aren’t on the field. Keller is viewed by many around him as a stand-up guy and someone who is caring and kind. His sister, a Battle student as well, Kennedy Keller elaborated on how Keller is outside of school. “Harrison is an amazing brother. He is caring and one of the kindest people I know”. Kennedy also commented on Harrison’s ability to keep humble. “He’s very humble. I feel like on the inside he knows he’s really good, but he manages to keep his thoughts to himself and makes others want to be around him”.
For the past six years, the football team has been a well-quarterbacked program. Players such as Brevinn Tyler and Jaren Lewis are standouts. But now it’s Harrison Keller’s turn.