Texans' Case Keenum's hometown of Abilene cheering him on

Everyone in Abilene has been following his success, waiting to see how the small town guy will perform on the big NFL stage
October 31, 2013 10:00:00 PM PDT
There's plenty of excitement surrounding Sunday's start of University of Houston alumnus Case Keenum at quarterback. But the Cougar Nation won't be the only fans cheering him on.

We headed over to West Texas to uncover just who Keenum really is as a person, and some of those who know the athlete best wasted no time sharing some very interesting memories.

Way over in West Texas, near the wind farms and wide open spaces, is the town of Abilene. It's where the Wylie High School Bulldogs are basking in Houston Texans' Keenum's recent shoot to stardom.

"He hated to lose, and he always wanted the ball in his hands," former Wylie High School coach Hugh Sandifer said.

Sandifer was Keenum's football coach in high school. He remembers the quarterback as a humble and quiet leader whose instincts early on as a young player helped carry the high school team all the way to a state championship Keenum's junior year.

"A lot of people don't know this, but he kicked a 47-yard field goal in high school first game his junior year, and they were playing for the state championship. We were lining up with four seconds to go to kick a field goal to win it. He wasn't the kicker at the time, but he was begging me to kick the ball," Sandifer said.

Coach Sandifer, who still has Keenum's championship jersey from that year, called the quarterback a fierce fighter on the field.

But in the classroom, Keenum's former English teacher Eric Thaxton had slightly different memories of the Texans' new starter.

"Case was a stud in school," Thaxton, said. "He was talkative, he was the life of the room. And people just fed off of him."

Thaxton says in addition to showing leadership skills on the field, Keenum was active off the field in mentoring programs, performing in skits and working hard.

"He treated everybody around him the same, and everybody looked up to case," Thaxton said.

And everyone back at Wylie High has been following Keenum's success from the Bulldogs to UH, and now waiting and watching to see how the small town guy will perform on the big NFL stage this weekend, knowing Keenum's second chance at starting quarterback could be a second chance for the team and Texans fans.

"He plays the game like it's meant to be played. He plays the game like there is nothing to lose. So, you've got to continue that Case, and turn it loose and have fun," Sandifer said.

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