Benton Panthers Head Football Coach Brad Harris describes his senior starting quarterback, Garrett Brown, as “a really laid-back guy, very easygoing.” While such a description may not seem to match with a full-contact sport such as high school football, Coach Harris considers this one of Garrett’s strengths.
“He doesn’t get rattled easy and the moment doesn’t seem to get too big for him,” said Harris. “He is not the fiery vocal guy, but when he does speak to our team, they listen. One of his best traits is that he processes everything well; that means from the offensive play pre-snap (prior to the play) & post-snap (during the play). He is able to process what defenses do and help get us in the right play if necessary.”
This ability has Garrett poised to etch his name in Panthers Football history as the most prolific passer in the school’s history.
So what influences in Garrett’s background can explain his ability to remain calm under pressure?
A quick glance at this 17 year-old’s young life shows that he is a Benton resident, son of Allison Hogue. He has one sibling, a 21 year-old brother, Dalton.
He started sports by playing baseball at age 7 and continued through his junior year in high school. “But I decided to focus on football after knee surgery (OCD of the knee) where continuing to play as a catcher would not support my knee healing. My knee has recovered, so I hope to come back to pitch for Benton baseball after football is over. I also enjoy playing pick-up basketball games,” said Garrett.
Football was, at first, a sport just to keep him busy. “I started playing football in eighth grade just as something to do because baseball didn’t start until ninth grade. It turned out that I enjoyed football more.”
Garrett admits his first venture into football in the eighth grade didn’t get off to a blazing start. “I played linebacker and quarterback and wasn’t very good, but my freshman year, I moved to quarterback only.” In the ninth grade, he left defense behind to concentrate on offense.
Coach Harris remembers seeing Garrett play.
“Garrett was a part time starter in junior high. He was a smaller guy during those days. He hit a growth spurt after his ninth-grade football season that really helped him going into his sophomore year. Garrett always had good arm strength in Jr. High, but was a little small and slow footed so he struggled at times. I think his growth spurts helped his confidence too.”
It was this progress that gave Coach Harris the confidence to move Garrett into the starting quarterback position halfway through the 2019 season when then-starting quarterback, Colin Morrow, was sidelined with an injury.
“He really did a good job as a sophomore. We tried not to put too much on him and let guys make plays around him until he got more comfortable. Even as a sophomore, Garrett understood our passing game really well. He knew his abilities and didn’t try to do too much. He was not a running quarterback, so he knew he needed to get the ball out to the wide receivers on time and whom to get it to. I think that goes back to how coachable he is. He does a good job of studying our opponents and knowing how we can attack them. Garrett threw for 2,021 yards—seventeen touchdowns with only five interceptions—during his sophomore season.”
For Garrett, jumping into the starting lineup and the confidence he had taking it was due to the help of a teammate. “At age fifteen, it was an unforgettable experience for sure, but the senior quarterback at the time (Colin Morrow) really helped me stay calm so I wasn’t too nervous. He was recovering from an injury that year and I had no idea how much his strength would help me make it through the next year.”
During the 2020 season, Garrett took up where he left off the previous year.
Coach Harris sums it up this way. “I thought Garret had a really productive junior year. He passed for 3,093 yards: twenty-seven touchdowns with interceptions. We would like for him to take care of the football a little better this season by not throwing as many interceptions, but overall he had another really good year.”
Which brings us to the chance to break the all-time passing record for Panthers football.
Coach Harris knows the record is in the vicinity of 5,300 yards but isn’t exactly sure. When asked about the record, Garrett said, “I have no clue what the passing yard record is, if that answers your question, but I do think it would be cool.”
But don’t let that fool you. Garrett’s vision for the season is clear.
“I think it’s time for Benton to be back at the top. Second place just isn’t it.”