Dalton Keene’s on the move

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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.”

 

 

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University

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