The return of Monday Night Football brought about the renewal of an old in-state rivalry between two west coast teams as the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams took on the San Francisco 49ers.
Though the state of California was highlighted on national television, several players who have roots in Texas where they played high school ball were in action this game.
With the 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff sidelined for the Rams, Case Keenum got the nod in the season opener. Case Keenum had started 15 NFL games in his career, but Monday night was his first start at quarterback to open a season in his 5 year career.
Keenum who was born in Brownwood, Texas played his high school ball at Wylie High School in Abilene, Texas. When Keenum left Wylie High for the University of Houston he left an impressive track record. Passing for over 6,700 yards and 48 touchdowns while running for 2000 yards and 41 touchdowns. Those numbers were all part of an outstanding career for Keenum who also helped deliver the school’s only state title to date when Wylie defeated Cuero in 2004.
Keenum had a rough night as the 49er defense smothered the run and pass game. Keenum was 17 of 35 for a 130 yards and threw two interceptions in the 28-0 loss against San Francisco.
When the San Francisco 49ers went up 21-0 in the fourth quarter, it was due to another Texas product in Vance McDonald, who attended East Chambers High School in Winnie. McDonald finished with two total receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown.
Jeremy Kerley who had not even been with the San Francisco 49ers for a week proved his worth in the first game. The former Hutto High School four sport letterman hauled in seven receptions for 61 yards in route to being the leading receiver for the 49ers.
The LA Rams put in Malcolm Brown late in the game who was a force at Cibolo Steele. Brown ran for close to 5,000 yards and 54 touchdowns in his final two years and helped Steele win their first Class 5A DII title. Brown had one reception for eight yards and a rush for five in the fourth quarter.
It’s hard to escape the majesty and connections of high school football in Texas and it showed as these players went from performing on Friday nights to nationally televised games on Monday at the highest level of football.