Porterville High School’s Brandon Rose is continuing his football career with Montana State University-Northern after signing with the NAIA Lights in mid-April.
Stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic prevented Rose from actually getting to visit the campus in Havre, Mon., let alone have a signing ceremony, but the senior said being offered a nearly full-ride athletic scholarship and a new experience helped him make his decision.
“I talked to the coach for a while, we had a lot of long talks and stuff,” Rose said. “And he always talked about how nice the weather is up there and how they get snow and stuff like that. And I thought it would just be like a really cool, new experience.”
Rose, who has a 3.5 GPA and plans to major in biology en route to a career in dentistry or nursing, was also thankful for an opportunity to continue playing football.
“I’ve been playing since I was five,” he said. “It was kinda like really hard for me to decide if I wanted to let that go or if I wanted to keep going. And I wanted to keep playing in college and play for as long as I can.”
A two-sport athlete at Porterville, Rose played football and tennis for the Panthers and also played trombone in band. But football is where he shined and as a sophomore offensive lineman, his obvious potential earned him a spot on varsity midway through the season.
“He’s exactly what you want,” PHS head coach Michael Machado said. “He’s everything that you want your athletes to be. He’s a leader by example. He’s a leader with what he says and how he treats the younger group that’s coming through. I mean those are big things. He just did everything that we’ve ever asked and he’s definitely deserving of that scholarship at this point.”
The coach added, “It’s awesome to have those guys see their dreams come true and get those opportunities. That’s really what high school football is all about. It’s about allowing those guys to live their dreams through you and just allowing, or making sure you help them in every way, shape or form.”
Rose credited stability under Machado, as well as coaching from offensive line coach, Michael Beebe, with how he and the team were able to be successful.
“I kind of just liked how every year we didn’t have to relearn a new thing,” Rose said. “Everything was just, get it done and we’ll win most of the time. I really liked that all the team had a really good pact and we were all like a family. You could feel at home there. It was really nice.”
This past season, No. 4 Porterville (8-5, 3-2 EYL) made it all the way to the CIF Central Section Division IV semifinals before losing to No. 1 Washington Union (11-2). Rose helped the Panthers’ offense finish third in the section with 6,024 total yards and earned his first All-East Yosemite League honors as a first-team offensive linemen.
“I have coached a lot of college and high school offensive tackles, and a few I coached went on to play professionally. Out of all of them, Brandon was the smartest and quickest learner I have ever coached,” Beebe said. “He understood information so quickly in the film room and on the field, that I was able to work with and demonstrate to him one-on-one techniques that I had only utilized with offensive tackles who were training to compete and block against professional defensive linemen.”
Rose thanked all of his coaches and everyone else who helped him reach this point. Besides senior activities, he said the one thing he was really missing during the quarantine was the ability to have a graduation party and thank everyone in person.
“I really wanted to have a graduation party or a goodbye party but I doubt that’s going to happen,” he said. “So I gotta figure out some way to thank everyone and say my goodbyes.”