Centre seniors, parents hold generational bond
Centre football’s five seniors carry on a tradition inherited from their parents.
“It’s really cool when we start seeing that blast from the past,” Jensen Riffel said. “When we’re going up against other teams and running down throws, I’m thinking that it’s just like our dads did back in the day.”
Jensen, Braxton Smith, Dalton Stika, and Aiden Svoboda all had fathers who played during their time at Centre, while Jacob Hird’s mother was also an alumna.
“It’s pretty special,” Jensen said. “You try to fill their shoes and become better than them.”
Even though they aren’t playing, they can see the sport’s evolution, said Jason Stika, Dalton’s father and an assistant coach.
“The game has really changed,” he said. “Now it’s about speed. These guys have size and speed. Back then it was that you were big or fast.”
One constant across generations is the need to master both offense and defense, said Jeff Riffel, Jensen’s father.
“It’s always been that you play both ways and might get off during special teams,” he said. “It’s was that way even when I was playing. You don’t come off the field.”
While it’s difficult now, it can be an advantage for students who want to continue playing in college, Jensen said.
“Most of those guys coming from 4A, 5A, and up to 6A are only used to playing one way,” he said. “Some of those guys don’t even have to play one way the whole game, whereas we play both ways the whole game.”
Despite their bonds, the Cougars suffered a heartbreaking 26-24 loss at Peabody-Burns Friday.
Centre showed the ability to push Peabody-Burns around, running for 226 yards and recovering three fumbles on defense.
Jacob and Jensen proved especially effective, as Jacob had 12 carries for 64 yards, and Jensen had 118 yards on 24 carries.
Penalties severely hurt the Cougars, though, as they tallied 12 for 120 yards.
The Cougars led most of the game, but Peabody-Burns completed the winning touchdown pass with 4 minutes and 31seconds left.
Centre will play Herington at 7 p.m. Friday at home.
Last modified Sept. 12, 2019