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Published October 26 2010

High school football: Keller makes his presence known on Spuds' sideline

If you follow the Moorhead football team, then you should know who Curtis is. But in case you don’t know Curtis Keller, he’s really hard to miss.

On a football team full of guys that are 6-feet or taller, the 4-9 Keller stands out for his height and because he’s the team manager.

“It’s been fun,” said the 14-year-old Keller before Moorhead’s Monday practice. “I like what I do.”

Keller’s job responsibilities are pretty normal for a football team manager.

He grabs water bottles or he’ll run to the shed and grab footballs during practice.

But it is his personality that has enthralled the football team and the coaching staff.

“I’ve been on varsity for three years and I don’t remember there being a manager,” said junior quarterback Jesse Doschadis. “But Curtis is someone you remember because of his personality.”

Doschadis said Keller’s most personable trait is his opinion.

Keller knows his Moorhead football. He knows who’s playing well, who’s getting better and who’s not playing well.

He’s not afraid to tell the average fan, a new Moorhead fan or even the players.

“Yeah, he can be pretty honest with you at times,” Doschadis said. “One time he asked me why I threw the ball to a certain spot. I was kind of surprised. It’s like having another coach on the side.”

Moorhead football coach Kevin Feeney joked that he’d be interested to hear Keller’s opinion on his first season coaching at the school.

Feeney said he got an email from athletic director Don Hulburt about Keller.

Keller’s mom told Hulburt she wanted her son to be involved with football.

“The big thing is he always has a smile on his face, he always has energy,” Feeney said with his trademark ear-to-ear grin. “What we said to him and to our team is that he has 100 big brothers in school.”

Feeney’s comments aren’t just lip service.

Doschadis recalled how during the summer, the team took a trip to Buffalo River State Park.

Keller was invited to go on the trip with the whole team.

“He had fun. He has a pretty good arm too,” Doschadis said. “He was right there playing football and swimming with the rest of the guys. He’s a part of the team.”

To know Keller is to know a young man that like Feeney said always has a smile on his face.

His smile along with his big cheeks and excited eyes comes with a handshake anytime he greets someone.

On game days, if it is a home game, he’ll wear the away jersey of one of his favorite Moorhead players that usually reaches his knee caps.

He also does the same thing when they are on the road.

But like any Minnesota kid, Keller has his priorities when it comes to football.

“Yeah, I like football,” he said. “But hockey is my favorite sport. I like going to Fargo Force games a lot.”

It was just only a few months ago where many people wondered who was the kid running around the field.

Some asked if it was Feeney’s son.

Others asked if it was the son of an assistant coach.

Now, he’s just Curtis, another member of the football team.


Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548