Captain Keegan leading culture change at Alvirne
HUDSON — If football had ratings like ski trails, Alvirne’s Tom Keegan would most certainly choose the “double black diamond” every time.
It’s simply the Bronco junior two-way lineman’s nature.
He works shoveling snow in the winter and landscaped his way through the brutal heat of the summer. No cushy kiosk sales job here.
And somehow, at Alvirne, it fits very well. Nothing has come easy for this program since its inception. Things have not been great, and Keegan has his sights set on changing all that.
“Growing up in Hudson, I’ve always gone to the games, and Alvirne football has always been known as a losing team,” said Keegan, who plays right guard on offense and tackle on defense. “We’ve never really been successful. We just haven’t had too much success. We want to change the program and change the culture. It’s why we worked so hard in the offseason.”
First-person plural, as in “we” happens to be a common theme for Keegan, whose attitude on the program got him as much notice as his performance on the field.
This past offseason, he was voted unanimously as a captain by the Broncos’ outgoing seniors. These days, underclassmen as captains are extremely rare.
“He is the anchor of our program,” said Alvirne coach Tarek Rothe. “A great student, great football player and an even better human being.”
Maybe it’s genetic. Keegan’s 90-year-old grandfather, Howard Keegan, was a quarterback at Deerfield Academy.
“I don’t think they even wore helmets back then,” said Tom, who also plays lacrosse in the spring.
“I just play 100 percent every play and focus on the game,” the 5-foot-9, 205-pound Keegan noted. “I guess the seniors thought I showed leadership qualities.
“Being a junior captain, I feel like I have to prove myself even more. I know there are people who think I probably shouldn’t be captain. They just drive me to work harder.”
Alvirne is off to a 1-0 start, and captain Keegan says there is no secret to the early success. It’s no coincidence.
The Broncos are driven.
“It starts with our work ethic through the offseason,” said Keegan, who has been playing football since the third grade. “Our little weight room on top of the gym was filled every day. I believe we’re going to keep this up. And I know all the guys around me want it too. I always think this is going to be the year.”
Keegan has bumped his bench-press max to 250 and his max squat to 400 pounds. Still, when he faces off with an opponent on the line, he’s usually outweighed.
“I’m not overpowering people with my strength out there, but my speed might help,” said Keegan, who notes that speed translates well during the winter where he’s a “Rec league legend” in hoops. “Being undersized, it might be a little bit tougher for the bigger guys to block me.”