Benton’s Keegan Glover did something last week no other quarterback in Southern Illinois prep history has ever accomplished.
His seven touchdown passes in less than three quarters of a 54-0 rout of Harrisburg, according to records on the IHSA website, represent a first for the area south of I-64. But Glover was happier about another element of his record-breaking night.
“I was excited for my receivers,” he said. “All four starters caught touchdowns.”
And that’s just one reason the Rangers are sailing along at 6-0, on the way to what they hope will be a long run in the playoffs next month. There are actually about 32 reasons why they’ve become an unstoppable force. Seemingly every player on the smallish roster has played some part in what’s becoming a season to remember.
But the 5-11, 150-pound sophomore, who will lead Benton into tonight’s SIRR Ohio home date with Massac County, is having as big an impact as anyone. If a quarterback can ever bore you with efficiency and completions, as one commentator suggested about the college version of Andrew Luck about a decade ago, Glover is doing that.
Through six games, Glover is connecting on 54 of 79 passes (68.4 percent) for 790 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Or to put it another way, he has nearly as many TD tosses as incompletions.
His average completion goes for 14.6 yards, an impressive number, and his decision-making has been crisp. While it helps that he has Tyler Butler to hand off to, and receivers like Ayden Newcomb and Peyton Bayless to catch his passes, not just any triggerman could make this offense hum.
Glover still has two years left. On top of that, he has the old head of someone who’s been starting a lot longer than seven games.
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“It’s really good that we can win games in a lot of ways,” he said. “I couldn’t do anything without my offensive line, and if our defense we’re stopping people, I couldn’t do what I’ve been doing. And my receivers are great at getting yards after the catch.”
Glover’s modesty aside, the quarterback is good at putting his receivers in position to turn short or medium-range completions into long gains. The difference between a 10-yard catch or a 40-yard touchdown can be ball placement. Do you hit the receiver in stride or do you make him reach behind him for the ball and knock him off-balance?
Glover demonstrated his ability to set up receivers for touchdowns during a 34-6 rout at West Frankfort in Week 5. On a second and 25 play from the Redbirds’ 31, Glover stepped up in the pocket and lofted a touch pass to Newcomb, who caught it in stride over his shoulder in a spot where the defender could do nothing but wave goodbye.
Later, Glover flipped a short pass to Butler in the flat, enabling him to run downhill as he caught the ball. That 5-yard touchdown slapped a layer of icing on top of another victory cake, capping a 188-yard, two-score day.
All this winning isn’t making the Rangers complacent. Glover and his teammates still remember a 1-8 2018 in which they played Marty McFly to opponents’ Biff Tannen. Shoes have changed feet after a hard-working offseason.
“We’ve got to keep our heads on straight,” Glover said. “We just can’t think we can walk all over teams just because we’re unbeaten.”
Describing himself as a math guy, Glover likes working on equations because “they can go on forever.”
The numbers are all adding up for him and Benton this year.