Dropping back into coverage, Derek Rieckers always looks to lock down the opposition’s strongest receiver.
He wants to thwart the big play and get takeaways.
The Brownstown Central senior, the second tallest player on the team at 6-1, uses his height to exploit the passing game and make plays on the ball.
On defense, Rieckers has 28 tackles on the season with a pair of interceptions — tied for most on the team.
“I think that my quickness is something that’s helped me,” Rieckers said of playing corner. “My technique has gotten a lot better. It helps me stay on guys and chase them down. I try to stay on top of the ball and go through my reads.”
When he’s not looking to snag an interception, Rieckers rotates in as a running back.
He’s quick around the line and isn’t afraid to throw a stiff-arm on any occasion.
Rieckers is second in rushing yards with 409 in 2016 on 42 carries and is averaging an efficient nine yards per carry.
He’s also quarterback Kyle Kramer’s second-favorite receiver, with five catches for 159 yards and two TDs.
“I think I like playing offense more. I like running with the ball,” Rieckers said. “I’ve gotten bigger through the summer weightlifting program. In the winter, I also got faster with that program. I think both have helped a lot.”
On special teams, Rieckers has the Braves’ two blocked kicks on the season.
Rieckers said he started playing football as soon he could in elementary school.
“Everything is fun about football,” he said. “I like the early mornings. I’m a morning person. I like coming in and seeing my friends.
“I feel like we’re a lot closer this year. On the weekends, we all hang out at each other’s houses. I feel like we know each other really well and know what each of us can do well.”
In the winter, Rieckers will rejoin the Braves’ basketball team.
Last year, he helped the junior varsity team to an undefeated season.
He expects to play more of a big man role in his senior season.
“Over the summer, I was playing more of a forward position because I got a lot taller,” Rieckers said. “Every once in a while, when we played five guards, we would have mismatches in the post. I’m not sure, but I will probably play more as a forward.”
Outside of athletics, Rieckers said he spends most of his time working and riding dirt bikes.
“I like riding dirt bikes and just about anything outdoors,” he said. “I do a little bit of competitive racing, but not during sports season. There are places out in Freetown and Scottsburg where I ride.”
After high school, Rieckers plans on studying fire science at Vincennes University.
Name: Derek Rieckers
School: Brownstown Central High School
Parents: Pat and Karla Rieckers
Sports: Basketball, four years; football, four years
Athletic highlights: Football – 2015 football sectional championship, 2016 Mid-Southern Conference title; basketball – JV most improved, 2015 undefeated JV season
Organizations: FFA, Booster Club, Letterman’s Club, 4-H
Plans after high school: Attend Vincennes University for fire science
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”
Favorite musician: Chris Stapleton
Favorite movie: “Lone Survivor”
Favorite team: Seattle Seahawks
The Brownstown Central High School varsity football coaches have announced awards for Friday’s 59-29 win over Corydon Central
Earning honors are Derek Rieckers, Offensive Back MVP; Clark Hauer, Offensive Line MVP; Joe Barnes, Defensive Line/Inside Linebacker MVP; Carson Lambring, Defensive Back/Dime MVP; Braden Neal, Special Teams MVP; Clayton Barger, Scout Team MVP; Lendon Underwood, Brendan Patman, Black Jersey winners.