Dream comes true for sophomore quarterback


Stephanie Hofmann/Opinion editor Sophomore quarterback Sam Riddle stands in front of the tunnel at Maxwell Stadium. Sam Riddle was 17 for 21 with four touchdown passes in the Oct. 4 game against the Lutes.

Stephanie Hofmann, Opinion Editor

It’s the end of the first half and the Linfield football team leaves the field in a way that aren’t use to— losing.

Coach Smith walks up to the players telling them they need to figure out what the problem is and start executing.  Half time ends and they send in the third string quarterback to try and take back the game. Sophomore Sam Riddle stands in the middle of the field ready to show why he is a part of this team.

Riddle isn’t new to the adrenaline rush that you get while playing an important game. He started playing football back in third grade continued all the way till his senior year at Century High School in Hillsboro, Oregon. There was never a question in his mind that he would continue to play, because giving it up was never an option.

“I tried it my first year and I really liked it,” Riddle said. “I’ve loved it ever since.”
In the beginning of his senior year in high school for the first time football was no longer the only thing on his mind. His girlfriend and now fiancée, Brianna, found out that she was pregnant with their now one and half year old son, Mason.

Suddenly football, graduating high school and going to college was all in question when earlier that year it had been such a sure thing. With the support of both of their families, Riddle was able to graduate and come to Linfield.

“It’s crazy just to think that I’m here,” Riddle said. “The support of the coaches and the support of my teammates is just unreal. This community is awesome.”

With the support back home, Riddle joined the Linfield football community right away. In his freshman year, Riddle didn’t see much field time. He appeared in only two games in the entire season. So going into the fall season, Riddle wanted to battle for not only more field time, but the starting position.

However, at the end of the summer practice, Riddle was going into the first game as the third-string quarterback.

“Matt (Yarbrough) and Tom (Knecht), the other quarterbacks, are a couple of my best friends at this campus and we all had talked before this season,” Riddle said. “We just wanted to let each other know that we are all there for each other. No matter who was in or who was out we would always be rooting for each other and always helping each other.”

The first game arrived against Chapman University and the team started off flat. They were getting penalty after penalty which made the third downs long.

The first half came and went leaving the Wildcats in the dust. When the second half started they rotated in Riddle and Linfield took off from there. The team scored two more touchdowns in that half and when it ended the Wildcats had won their first game and Riddle was the new first-string quarterback.

“It was fun and it was surprising, but not [surprising] at the same time,” Riddle said. “I felt like I was very prepared for the game. Even though I was third-string I felt like I knew everything that the first string quarterback needed to know.”

Riddle went into the second game against the University of Redlands as the main quarterback which got him more field time, but also a lot more pressure. However, Riddle handled the pressure and pulled through with a win against the Bulldogs of 36-3.

“I felt a little bit more pressure,” Riddle said. “That game I definitely had a little more goose bumps going in to it and a little more butterflies.”

The team then went to Pacific Lutheran University to play the first game to count for the conference rankings. Riddle was ready for the challenge and led the team to beat the Lutes 41-14.

“[It’s] by far the biggest game of my football career of high school, youth and now college,” Riddle said. “It’s definitely the biggest game of my life, but I feel like I’m prepared, the team is prepared and potently it could be for the league championship.”

The ‘Cats will have their first home game on Oct. 11 against George Fox University where Riddle will be making his first string quarterback appearance at home in front of students, alumni and family. The excitement of the home game and the electricity of the crowed makes Riddle so excited that he can’t even eat breakfast in the morning before the game.

“I just love playing here,” Riddle said. “The environment of game day is just unreal. I love just running out of this tunnel and playing on that field. It’s going to be fun.”

Riddle stresses that it isn’t about winning one game or beating a certain team, but about keeping the tradition alive. When the ‘Cats win the next couple of games, Linfield football will have 59 winning seasons, which Riddle says is more important than any one game.

“The thing about Linfield is the tradition and you just want to keep it going,” Riddle said. “You just want to make everyone proud. You want to play for your teammates, the alumni and for your coaches. Linfield football is just so much bigger than just that game. There is so much more around it and that’s what I love about being here.”

Looking back at the past three years, Riddle can’t believe where he is now. He went from thinking he would never graduate high school to the first string quarterback in college. The whole experience has left him speechless.

“It’s just like a dream,” Riddle said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m just sleeping and I’m going to wake up and it’s going to be all gone, but every day I keep waking up and I’m here. I’m just so thankful for all the opportunities I have and the way things have just fallen into place. It’s just like something you would watch a movie or read a book about. It’s a great place to be and I just love it here.”

Stephanie Hofmann can be reached at [email protected].

Photo courtesy of Kelly Bird Sophomore quarterback Sam Riddle runs out of the pocket and looks to connect with a receiver on October 5 at Pacific Lutheran University. This was Riddle's second game as the starting quarterback.
Photo courtesy of Kelly Bird
Sophomore quarterback Sam Riddle runs out of the pocket and looks to connect with a receiver on October 5 at Pacific Lutheran University. This was Riddle’s second game as the starting quarterback.