Just call it Super Bowl Week for Vernon Panther quarterback Keegan Vicklund.
The Grade 9 student will practise and play at the University of Texas-Arlington’s Maverick Stadium from Feb. 4-8 in the USA Football International Bowl. More than 300 top U.S. and Canadian high school football players will be featured.
The players may not be household names yet, but neither was Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston or Georgia running back Todd Gurley when they took part in 2012.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting,” said Vicklund. “I know we play at least one Texas high school.”
Vicklund is the lone Vernon product to make the Team B.C. Under 15 roster following tryouts earlier this month in Burnaby and a combine camp last summer in Chilliwack.
“In Burnaby, we had controlled scrimmages and I did alright. My footwork was pretty good and I completed some passes.”
He is one of five quarterbacks on the 40-man roster. He also saw some reps at safety in Burnaby.
The 5-foot-8, 133-pounder hits the weight room everyday and loves watching Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.
Vicklund guided VSS to the provincial junior semifinals last high school season, where they lost to the Ballenas Whalers of Parksville.
An aspiring mechanic, Keegan also plays guard in high school hoops and runs sprints in track and field. He has posted a 11.8 in the 100 under coach Ian Cameron.
Said senior Panther head coach Sean Smith: “Keegan has all of the intangible things that go along with being a good quarterback. He works hard in practice to get better each day, attends lots of camps to improve his skills and is a regular in the weight room. We start all of our practices with the juniors and seniors together. I think the huge benefit of that is that Keegan got to see first-hand how some of our seniors lead on a daily basis. Being around our senior quarterback (John Garvie) was good for him and I saw a lot of improvement in Keegan’s leadership ability this fall.
“Very few kids have the combination of athleticism, arm strength and ability to think quick that is required to play QB at a high level. I think Keegan has those things. If he continues to put in the time – it’s going to be exciting to watch him in Grade 12.”