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Keenan’s Laumann leads team with his experience

Tom Stiles | Friday, November 12, 2004

Keenan’s sophomore quarterback Eric Laumann is not your average football player.

Laumann will be playing in the biggest game of the interhall season on the biggest stage Sunday when his Keenan Knights take on the Jugger-knotts from Knott.

The pressure and excitement surrounding this game is unlike any other considering families of players will be flying in to see the championship, including Laumann’s.

With friends and foes attending the game, they will almost certainly make up the largest crowd either team has played in front of all year.

Although anxiety will be an issue for most of the players, Laumann is not “most players.” He has been playing football since the fifth grade up to his senior year at Kettering Alter High School in Dayton, Ohio. After becoming the starting quarterback his sophomore year, he took his team all the way to the state semifinals both his junior and senior year.

“We played in front of about 15,000 people, which is one of the largest crowds for a high school game in Ohio’s history. So, I really don’t get nervous,” Laumann said. “Before games I take it easy and let the defense get pumped up. I just get in my own frame of mind and try to stay focused.”

Laumann has remained one of the most versatile players in interhall based upon statistics alone.

Laumann has already had three games in which he has thrown and rushed for over 200 yards this season. This is in addition to throwing and rushing for at least three touchdowns in each of the contests.

“We like to run a balanced offense, and Eric is a huge part of it because he is versatile enough to execute on running plays designed for him and he can really tuck it and run on the broken ones,” Keenan captain Patrick Downey said. “As any good quarterback, you have to have leadership qualities, and Eric does. He just has that knack for making big plays, especially on third downs. We are very confident when the ball is in his hands.”

Laumann attributes this confidence to his many years of experience.

“I think the biggest thing that I bring to the offense is experience. I can read routes well, and I’m better at progressions than most quarterbacks in this league,” Laumann said. “I’m athletic enough to be able to make something happen if people bust through the line. Plus, I have a great receiver to throw to in Dan Zenker.”

In addition to the Keenan receivers, its defense has been a dominant presence all season long.

The Knights defense has recorded three shutouts and hasn’t allowed an opponent to score more than seven points all season.

“The key for a win on Sunday will be the line. It all starts with the offensive line,” Laumann said. “Then the running game will open up the passing game.”

A successful passing game and making few mistakes is a pressure Laumann places upon himself.

“For me, the big thing is no turnovers and just making the plays that are called. We are good enough where I don’t have to be spectacular,” Laumann said. “I know they have a good running back, but our defense hasn’t given up a touchdown in the playoffs. It’ll be a hard fought game.”

Despite being confident in the team’s abilities, Laumann knows what is at stake. He also knows what a great achievement it is to get all the way to the Stadium. Last season, the Knights reached the semifinals, only to lose to Dillon 13-6. Laumann and the rest of the players from last year’s team haven’t forgotten how close they came to reaching the Stadium. This time around though, Keenan looks to relish the experience.

“Last year was a giant tease,” Laumann said. “We were so close and we got a taste. But the loss fueled the fire, so we really got to work early this year.”

Laumann is also hoping last year’s mistakes will help the team to be successful on Sunday.

“I would like to treat this like any other game, but I know the feeling of being on that field will be unbelievable,” Laumann said. “But we as a team want to be remembered by everyone there watching. My whole family is coming, so I really hope it will be an experience that they will remember as well.”