It was during second-quarter action between the Montrose High School Indians and their South Western League rival, Grand Junction High School.
The Indians were already dominating the scoreboard by two touchdowns when senior quarterback Drew Casebier dropped back to pass, looking downfield in the direction of hard-running receiver Brennan Woodruff. With the pocket collapsing around him, Casebier let loose a high, tight, spiral that hit Woodruff in stride as he broke away from a Grand Junction defender.
The pass was perfect. Montrose fans exploded in a deafening cheer; the Grand Junction sideline stood stunned.
As the mayhem of celebration erupted in the sidelines and stands, Drew ran towards the sideline, pointing to his father and head coach Todd Casebier before leaping into his arms.
Todd’s face was happy and startled, but only for a moment before pushing his quarterback back to the field to pick up a crucial two-point conversion.
The 70-yard touchdown completion was part of a 157-yard passing effort by Casebier in the team’s 41-21 victory.
The Indians have not captured the SWL title the past two seasons, but after beating Grand Junction and Fruita Monument the week before, the team now sits atop the SWL with a perfect 2-0 record with two games remaining. Overall, the Indians are 5-3 on the season.
“We started league play two weeks ago and he [Drew] had his best game of the year to that point against Fruita and last week he had his best game of the year to that point against Junction, so he’s playing well at the right time,” Coach Casebier said.
According to Todd, when Drew was younger he wanted to play receiver and tight end. But Drew’s youth football team needed a quarterback – and he volunteered.
“It’s been great. Football...in general, has obviously been a big part of my life, and to coach through and share it with him is about as special as it gets,” Todd Casebier said.
Casebier, the son, was elevated to starting quarterback midway during his sophomore year after an injury sidelined the Indians’ primary quarterback. Since then, the highs and lows, the wins and losses, have given the quarterback and his teammates valuable experience, and as a result, the team has become a tighter group this season.
“It’s been great. He’s the best coach around; because he’s my dad, we just connect great on and off the field, and by now we know what we’re doing so it’s been really good,” Drew said.
Asked about throwing the 70-yard touchdown and the ensuing celebration with his father, Drew responded: “It was Junction, and it has been such an emotional ride. My sophomore year, we lost to Junction on our field. To come back and hit big plays like that, it’s a great feeling.”
The team travels to Durango this Friday, a place where the Indians have struggled in the past seeking a win and a league title.
“We need to finish the deal this Friday,” Todd said.
The coach added that despite the team’s past struggles, he remains confident in Drew and the abilities of his offensive line and backs.
“He has a lot of guys around him that are helping him do that, so just like in any situation it’s about the guys around you. Drew and I know more than anybody that it’s not about him and I. He’s playing good football now and we need him to be,” Coach Casebier said
Next week, Montrose hosts winless Central High School of Grand Junction for the final game of the regular season. After that game, the Indians will be looking at a playoff berth and hoping to have a homefield advantage. With the win over 5A Grand Junction, the Indians moved higher in the state 4A power rankings.
This is Drew’s final season, and in the coming weeks, he and his dad will play their final games together – before graduation and a new chapter for the family.
What will the son miss about his father’s coaching?
“His drive to make things great. He gets on everyone about doing the right job and doing everything the right way so our guys don’t get hurt, so we can win. He puts in so many hours so that we can get it done.”
Faced with the same question, the elder Casebier said, “Just being able to be with him every day, whether it’s on the football field or in zero hour [weight room]. Drew and I have a lot more in common than football. It’s just a special thing to coach a kid.”
Every parent dreams of their child joyfully leaping into their arms, especially during the teenage years. That particular memory, alive now and in the years to come, will make the 2012 season one to remember.