In fact, he was never really a backup at all.
Over the past two seasons, Kell coach Derek Cook has had the privilege of mentoring two standout quarterbacks in senior Matt McGuigan and the junior Rosendahl.
McGuigan led the Longhorns to a 10-2 record and the second round of the state playoffs last year, and he was well on his way to another solid season this year when an ankle injury he suffered against Sprayberry on Oct. 25 forced Cook to insert Rosendahl as the signal-caller.
Kell still won the game 55-7, and the Longhorns — now 13-0 and preparing for Friday’s Class AAAAA semifinal at Creekside — remained undefeated since then with Rosendahl at the helm.
“We’re blessed to have two guys that can produce,” Cook said.
Rosendahl made his mark on Kell’s offense as a sophomore last year, getting in for mop-up duty toward the end of games. His workload increased during the offseason, and Cook also found time for Rosendahl to see more action this season — even before McGuigan’s injury — which helped make Rosendahl’s adjustment into the starter’s role even easier.
“Cameron played a fair amount in close games and played significantly in not-so-close games,” Cook said. “He had plenty of snaps and was pretty comfortable. We did our 7-on-7s in the summertime, and he was right there the whole time, so he was ready when it was his opportunity.
“I’ve always said that Matt was the starter, but Cameron was right with him. I have 100-percent confidence in both of those guys should whoever get the opportunity to play. I don’t have any concern.”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Rosendahl knew he’d be ready if his number were ever called, and he will be counted on again Friday night with a shot at the state title at stake.
“I’ve been ready to go since Day 1,” Rosendahl said. “The team was confident in me and I was ready to go from the start. I just play my game and I play hard. It’s been fun, and I couldn’t have been successful doing it without everyone else on the team. I love this team, and we’re on a roll.”
In three playoff games, Rosendahl has completed 29 of 46 passes for 398 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. He went 9-of-13 for 167 yards and a touchdown in Kell’s 52-28 victory over Warner Robins in last week’s quarterfinal, and he was 11-for-16 for 107 yards and two touchdowns in the Longhorns’ 26-15 second-round victory over Mays.
In his first playoff game as a starter — a 31-17 win over Allatoona — Rosendahl was 9-of-17 for 124 yards and two scores.
“(Rosendahl) sees the whole field very well,” Cook said. “He has great pocket presence and keeps his eyes downfield. He doesn’t see the rush. He feels the rush and feels the pressure as it comes to him. He can throw on the run very accurately, and he has a very strong arm, just like Matt.
“Both of them are gifted in that area. Cameron is more mobile than Matt, and with the ankle injury, there is a greater difference. Cameron is a very humble, unassuming kid. I don’t have any prima-donna quarterbacks. They’re blue-collar guys who go out there and work and do what they’re supposed to do.”
Rosendahl is the “hot hand” right now, according to Cook, so he will continue to lead the Longhorns, even though McGuigan is healthy.
“The chemistry right now is good with Cameron,” Cook said. “It was good with Matt beforehand. I view them as co-starters, but we have great chemistry right now as an offense. We’re scoring a lot of points and I don’t want to do anything to disrupt that.
“Who’s to say that, if I put Matt in, we don’t score 20 more points per game — I don’t know. I’m comfortable the way things are right now. Our team is playing well, and I’m not going to do anything to slide that around.”
Rosendahl wants to keep Kell rolling along.
“There is no nervousness anymore,” he said. “That’s over with at this point. For now, we want to keep it going. No one wants to lose.”