Braves player stepping up in senior season


The only time Colton Ritz isn’t at Blevins Memorial Stadium is when there’s snow on the ground or he’s working on the farm.

Over the past four years, Ritz has logged countless hours with the Brownstown Central football and track and field programs.

Thus far this fall, Ritz, a slot receiver, is leading the Braves in rushing with 166 yards on 16 attempts.

He has two rushing touchdowns and is averaging 83 yards through two games.

As a slot, Ritz sees the value of teamwork in the wing-T offense.

“I think you need to be a good team player,” Ritz said. “You need to block for the other slots. When you’ve got it, you need to be a tough runner.”

On the schedule, Ritz doesn’t have one game circled on the calendar.

“I look forward to every game every week,” Ritz said.

While the Braves have accomplished a lot with Ritz on the roster, he said his best memories are with his friends on the team.

He’s taking on a bigger leadership role this fall.

“This year, we’re a young team,” Ritz said. “We need leaders, and I like to think that I lead the slots a little bit. Hopefully, they see me as a leader this year.”

Ritz made his name heard in the pole-vaulting world last spring.

He placed 20th at the state meet and was a sectional champion and a regional qualifier.

At sectional, Ritz a new school record by vaulting 14 feet, 3 inches.

“Having Jake Bollinger (last season) pushed me to get better,” Ritz said. “When you have two people close in skill in the same craft, you want to push each other. You want to one-up your buddy. I think that competition with myself and my buddy made me better.”

In 2018, Ritz plans on proving that his appearance at state last year wasn’t a fluke.

“It makes me hungrier for this season,” Ritz said. “It makes me want to go back again and prove myself more than last time.”

The senior has pole vaulted since middle school.

“I’ve been pole vaulting since seventh grade. That’s the first year I did track,” Ritz said. “We didn’t have one on the team. I was told not to, so I wanted to do it then.”

One of his coaches on the track team is his grandpa, Tom. Colton said he works on his grandpa’s farm in his free time and that Tom got him into track.

“I like showing livestock and working on the farm with Grandpa,” Ritz said. “That’s typically what I do when I’m not doing sports. He has always been a coach and involved in my track career. I’ve been around the farm since I was little.”

After high school, Ritz plans to go to college to become a history teacher. He said he’s going to pole vault in college and has a list of schools interested in his talents.

“I wasn’t the smartest student, and I feel like I could help a lot of kids who aren’t the valedictorians as a history teacher,” Ritz said. “I want to help the students that need more help from teaching. I want to coach track because I have always loved it. I have done every event besides jump and disc.”

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What: Brownstown Central (2-0) at Eastern (Pekin) (1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Radio: 96.3 WJAA

Where: Eastern High School

Most recent meeting: Brownstown Central won 54-8 on Sept. 2, 2016

Last outing: Brownstown Central def. Charlestown 43-14, Eastern def. Clarksville 56-21

Series past 30 years: Brownstown Central 10-0

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Name: Colton Ritz

School: Brownstown Central

Parents: Melanie and Walkar Ritz

Siblings: Jakeb Webber, Kalyn Ritz

Sports: Football, four years; track and field, four years

Athletic highlights: Football, advancing to semistate (2016); track and field, breaking the school record in pole vault and state qualifier (2016)

Organizations: Booster Club, Lettermen’s Club

Plans after high school: Attend college to be a teacher and coach and pole vault in college

Favorite food: Philly cheesesteak

Favorite TV show: “Mountain Monsters”

Favorite musicians: Migos

Favorite movie: “Old School”

Favorite team: Cincinnati Bengals

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The Brownstown Central High School varsity football coaches have announced awards for Friday’s 43-14 win against Charlestown.

Earning honors are Karl Pence, Offensive Back MVP; Brendan Patman, Offensive Line MVP; Andy Kellermeier, Defensive Line/Inside Linebacker MVP; Reece Covert, Defensive Back/Dime MVP; Ethan Sevakis, Special Teams MVP; Jake Gray, Scout Team MVP; Covert, Patman, Noah Reynolds, Lendon Underwood, Matt Bell, Luke Shelton, black jersey winners.


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