When senior quarterback Casey Brockman took the field against Florida State to start the season, it marked the beginning of the end for the highly-decorated hometown hero.
A Calloway County native, Brockman was a four-year letterman under then-Head Coach Josh McKeel at Calloway County High School, garnering All-State honors in 2008 after passing for 3,417 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior en-route to an 11-3 season and a deep run into the playoffs.
Opting for a five-minute drive covering 1.3 miles, Brockman left Calloway County High School and, in 2009, chose the college to which he’d been accustomed and watched play football his entire life.
“It’s pretty neat knowing probably 75 percent of the people in the crowd, having grown up here and watching games,” Brockman said. “That’s pretty special and pretty neat. It just means a little bit more to me just being able to play in front of people I know and my family knows. It’s kind of a dream to play in front of this crowd and a little more meaningful.”
Brockman started the final three games of the 2009 season, the last year under Head Coach Matt Griffin, winning his first official start in Blue and Gold by beating long time rival Austin Peay.
In three games, he passed for 543 yards, three touchdowns and had seemingly locked up the starting job for 2010 as he closed the season as the starting quarterback on the depth chart.
However, Griffin was fired following another losing season, and current Head Coach Chris Hatcher, who was hired in 2010 to give a quick turnaround to the Racer tradition, gave the reins to his powerful “Hatch Attack” to incumbent senior quarterback Jeff Erhardt. Through persistence and continued dedication, Brockman had to once again prove himself to a new coaching staff and a new system.
He finally got his chance to shine in one of the biggest games of the season for Racer football: Homecoming.
Only three words can describe what was witnessed on that day: what a game.
He and the Racer offense went point–for– point with the Missouri State Bears offense, and when the dust settled, Brockman had thrown for school records of 570 yards and seven touchdowns in the 72-59 victory.
The starting job hasn’t ever been in question since the self proclaimed “Wild Horse” took over.
Now Brockman faces his final gauntlet–run through the OVC schedule, and it is make or break for the Racers as they are looking to finish strong and come away with the ever elusive OVC Championship.
“Anytime you start conference play now is when it really counts,” Brockman said. “You want to get in the playoffs and make a name for yourself. We have to get down to the nitty-gritty and focus harder than we were before.”
Every college football player likes to do battle with an old nemesis, and Brockman is no different. One of his favorite players to watch and go up against is conference foe and Eastern Kentucky senior quarterback T.J. Pryor, who leads the Colonels as one of the top FCS teams in 2012.
“They have beaten us for three straight years,” Brockman said. “I generally like what they do at EKU and he’s a fun guy to watch.”
For all of the seniors, not just Brockman, this is an important season, as most of them were around when Griffin was fired in 2010. And while the pedigree and culture of winning has long been instilled during Hatcher’s tenure, expectations and hopes are as high as ever for the Racers to bring it all back home.
“One more championship would mean the world to everybody,” Brockman said. “We want to get Murray State back and relevant again in our division and on the FCS level.”
If ever there was a man suited for the job, it would be Casey Brockman.
Story by Edward Marlowe, Staff writer