Father and son, coach and player

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By Travis Jenkins

Billy Keels, the coach, wasn’t on hand to see one his top players sign a football scholarship Wednesday at Lewisville. For once, he got to be Billy Keels, the dad.

Trey Keels, who excels in three sports for the Lions signed to continue his education and play football at Presbyterian College.

Trey smashed nearly every passing record at Lewisville in his three years as a varsity starter, throwing for 6,713 yards and 60 touchdowns. This past season, he helped guide the Lions to the third round of the Class A playoffs. He’s grown as a player over the past few years, but he’s also grown physically, packing 200 pounds on his now 6-foot-6 frame. Will Mitchell, Lewisville’s football coach, said Trey is also a tremendous leader, despite the calm demeanor he always demonstrates.

“Pardon the pun, but he’s very even-keeled. Don’t mistake that for casual, though. There is a competitive fire that burns very hot in him,” Mitchell said.

Keels had interest from a number of schools, but found a comfort level with Presbyterian College. Part of that is because his mother attended the school, but he also has a former teammate playing for the Blue Hose in Cody Montgomery.

“Cody’ is down there and he’s told me good things about the program. It will be nice to have a friendly face there,” Trey said.

Since he sports a 4.69 GPA, academics are obviously important to Trey and he liked what he saw on that front at Presbyterian as well. He may redshirt as a freshman in an effort to get bigger and stronger, but he’s the only quarterback the team is taking this year’s recruiting class and likes his chances of getting playing time down the road. Mitchell thinks when the time comes, the Blue Hose will realize they got a steal.

“I don’t think they realize what they’ve got. I don’t think they realize how good he’s going to be,” Mitchell said.

Trey said coaches like his size and arm strength. He plans to work on filling out his frame a bit and increasing his mobility as he prepares to transition from high school to college football.

Trey has also been an all-region player in basketball and an all-state baseball player. The Lewisville basketball team won a region crown and will open the playoffs tonight at home against Estill. The baseball team returns almost its entire starting line-up and all of its pitching (including Trey) from last year’s squad that advanced to the upperstate championship game.

“My goal is to get two state championship rings. That would be special,” he said.

He will unfortunately have to leave basketball behind after this year, but said there is a chance he could play baseball in college, along with football.

Keels thanked his mother, his sister Allie, his grandparents and all of his coaches and teammates for helping make him a better player and a tougher competitor. He also had a lot to say about his baseball coach…and dad, Billy. He called him his role model and his best friend. For probably the first time at a Lewisville scholarship signing, Billy didn’t say much, sitting proudly as Trey announced his college choice.

“It was a different feeling.  I’ve been in that library about 30 or 40 times the last 16 years doing signing ceremonies. That was definitely the quietest I’ve been. “For once, I felt like his dad and not one of his coaches.”

It was one of the few times in an athletic setting Trey got to Billy “dad.”

“He’s ‘coach’ on the field. It’s weird at times, but it’s pretty cool too,” Trey said.