Don’t sing the tune “Blue Monday” around Dwayne and Susan Queen. For the Livonia couple, Jan. 13 could not come soon enough.
They anxiously await Monday, when their son, LSU outside linebacker Patrick Queen, and the rest of the Tiger football team battle Clemson in the National Football Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
“Patrick, just like all the players and coaches, has been waiting to start – and we’re ready, as well,” Susan said.
“They’re fired up and ready to go, just like everyone else who has been following them.”
The 2017 Livonia High School graduate earned multiple All-State honors as a halfback and played on the 2014 Class 3A state championship team.
He is now the first Pointe Coupee Parish high school graduate to ever play in a NCAA National Championship football game.
The odds of a high school player competing in a national championship game in college football may seem akin to winning the lottery. It certainly came as a surprise to Susan.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see this coming … we’re truly grateful and thank God for the path he’s taken Patrick through,” she said. “I always knew he would be successful, and I knew he had the potential, but now we’re in the moment, it’s hard to grasp.”
It did not come as big a surprise to Dwayne, who played college football at Nicholls State University.
He saw the potential as far back as Patrick’s freshman year with the Tigers.
“Honestly, and I do not want to seem arrogant, but I saw it coming,” Dwayne said.
“I watched him grow talentwise all through high school, but when I saw his fellow freshman players come in and practice together, I knew he would play for the national championship by his junior year.”
Former Livonia head coach Guy Mistretta, who coached during three of Queen’s four seasons, saw the national championship potential as well.
It came down to work ethic, he said.
“We all knew he had the talent, so it doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Mistretta, now a head coach at Dutchtown High School. “As for reaching the championship game, you have to catch a break, but he always a ‘hard hat, lunch pail’ type of player – a quiet, no-nonsense kind of guy who went about his work and knew what he wanted.”
Current LHS head coach Marc Brown, who coached Patrick as a sophomore, echoed Mistretta’s sentiments.
“You always knew he had the potential to play big-time football and would put himself in a potential to be successful,” he said. “It’s a blessing to be in that position, but he put forth a lot of work to get there.”
Even in Patrick’s freshman year, then-head coach David Brewerton saw something special.
“He was one of those kids who was driven early on, and just a great kid with high character,” he said. “From an athletic standpoint, you could tell he was special, but he kept growing and growing.
“When you watch the highlight film from his senior year, it was touchdown after touchdown,” said Brewerton, now at Zachary High School.
“Yet, he goes to the next level with limited knowledge of how to play linebacker, and he learns to play on that side of the ball, so that’s a testament of what he was willing to put forth for the long term.”
Patrick enjoyed strong relationships with his coaches at Livonia. The same has applied to LSU, where coach Ed Orgeron has become a big part of his life, Susan said.
“We love Coach O … he’s just amazing,” she said. “When he came to our house, he said he’d treat Patrick like one of his sons – strict when he needed to be, and hands-on when he needed to be.”
The teamwork and leadership for the 2019 SEC championship team has also had a role in the success, Dwyane said.
“Joe Burrow has been a team leader … just a great kid all around,” he said. “I’ve watched football all my life and I’ve never seen a quarterback throw a ball the way he does – at least 80 percent of the time he will complete the pass.”
Dwayne and Susan Queen said the start of the championship game will feel “like a ton of bricks off the shoulders.”
“Patrick tells us it’s the same way,” she said. “They’re waiting for the moment, but they’re going about this the same way they’ve done everything this season – staying focused, remaining humble and taking one day at a time.”
They also have two plans for a celebration if – or when – the Tigers win the championship.
“We’ll thank God for the glory of it all,” she said. “Patrick is so blessed, and we’re so thankful.”
Dwayne may add something else to the celebration.
“I don’t drink, but if they win the national championship, I might just pop open a beer and have a couple sips,” he said.
“Just like your kid winning a national championship, it would be a once-in a-li