Brock Riddle has always been passionate when it comes to the game of football.
"I started playing flag football in kindergarten and was just having fun," recalled the Greenwood senior signal caller. "When I was moved to quarterback in second grade, though, that is when my love for football really took off.
"When I was growing up, watching (Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback) Peyton Manning and the Colts on Sundays made me really me want to be a quarterback. There have also been multiple college and Greenwood quarterbacks I've looked up to over the years."
These positive influences have paid off for the 6-foot-3, 185-pound standout, who is among the state's passing leaders, completing 146-of-251 attempts for 2,309 yards with 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions as well as 96 rushes for 491 yards with five scores.
Despite suffering a heartbreaking 28-24 loss to defending Class 5A state runner-up Whiteland on October 13, Riddle still established the school record for passing yards in a season.
"I have also had a lot of great coaches and a trainer (Anthony Morelli) that have helped me along the way, explained Riddle, who was 123-of-268 for 1,493 yards with 17 touchdowns prior to 2023. "Over the years from my sophomore year to my senior year, I have grown physically a lot and worked really hard to get stronger and faster.
"I've put a lot of work in this particular off-season to improve my all-around game, mainly focusing on my accuracy, arm strength, and most importantly. the mental side of the game. This past year, I spent a lot of time working with my receivers to learn my new coach's (Justin Boser) offense, and we have seen a great improvement."
After orchestrating a run-oriented offense under former boss Mike Campbell the past two campaigns, Riddle has really blossomed in Justin Boser's "Power Spread" attack.
"Coach Boser made this transition amazing," Riddle said. "He came here in the spring and his main focus was to build relationships with his players and he had done a great job doing so. He understood the type of season we had the prior years (2-8 in 2021 and 1-9 in 2022) and understood how bad we wanted to win. Coach Boser and I have a great bond. He can get after me at times as any good coach would do, but we always get on the same page.
"I've also spent a lot of time in and outside of the off-season with our strength coach Jarrod Watson, who is amazing for our program, along with my trainer Anthony Morelli who has helped me prepare mentally and physically."
After coming over from Clarksville, Boser has witnessed Riddle emerge into a team leader.
"Brock has done all the right things since I met him this past February," explained Boser. "When I arrived, Coach Watson, our strength coach, said nobody has worked harder than Brock Riddle. Brock continued that hard work when it came to learning an entirely new offense. After officially receiving the head coaching job, I started transferring my playbook to Greenwood's Hudl account. I had not yet moved to Greenwood, but for about a month, Brock held meetings with offensive players to review the offensive changes to be ready for our spring limited contact practices. This allowed us to hit the ground running on day one of the limited contact practices. We have not looked back since that time.
"Brock has led our offense, which ranked last in the Mid-State Conference in 2022 to first in 2023. Brock has done a great job of coming to practice every day ready to work and get better. We play a tough schedule and he has taken some big hits and he still put us in position to win games. This obviously could not be possible without the support around him. From our offensive line, which has only allowed nine sacks, to our receiving core, which only totaled nine receptions in 2022 to this year. Brock is a great kid, and it has been an amazing year coaching him and spending time with him in our meeting room and practice."
The same can be said of the bond Riddle has formed with his team, especially his receivers, classmates Tanner Crouch (43 catches for 690 yards with eight touchdowns), Amare Middleton (41 catches for 823 yards with nine scores), and Chase Monroe (28 receptions for 429 yards with six touchdowns).
"The connection I have with my teammates is huge," explained Riddle. "We have a big senior class that's been playing together since at least middle school or before. Many of us have been three-year starters, so we all get along and push each other. Our senior class has a good foundation of leadership with this team, and it certainly helps setting the standard for the young guys."
Although the Woodmen (4-5) have endured their share of ups and downs with three wins to start the season and are now currently in a three-game losing streak, Riddle remains focused and in the right mind frame heading into the postseason.
"We have suffered a lot of close losses and they don't get any easier, especially knowing there was a play that could've changed the game," Riddle said. "But, as our coaches always tell us, there is a 24-hour rule. We have 24 hours to be happy about something or upset about something. Then, you clear it and move on to the next week. I think that mindset helps us overcome those close losses as a team."
He also believes playing in the competitive Mid-State Conference has prepared them for their Class 4A Sectional 23 opener at Connersville (2-7) on October 20.
"It's crucial that we go into every game not looking at who (our opponent) they've beat or lost to because as we have seen, anyone can beat anyone in our conference," explained Riddle. "We just need to put our best foot forward and play as hard as we can week in week out."
All of the hard work paid off for Riddle, who will continue his academic and athletic careers at Indiana State University.
"I had been talking to Indiana State for a while before they had offered me," recalled Riddle, who has a 3.052 grade-point average and is a part of the school's student council, student athletic advisory committee, and broadcasting team. "I was a late bloomer and they were one of the few schools who noticed that and noticed my growth physically and as a player. Every time I spoke to their staff, whether it was at a camp or a visit, they were always very kind and expressed their interest. When I took a visit to the campus a couple of weeks back, it solidified how I felt about Indiana State and I went through with how I felt and committed."