Siford gives New Prairie backfield a boost
Down the road a piece, Bobby Siford aims to design cars.
For now, the New Prairie senior is like a kid who just got his driver's license.
A mainstay on defense his entire prep career, Siford started playing running back last week as Cougars coach Casey McKim searched for someone to put jump start an offense stuck in neutral.
"He had never played offense before in high school," McKim said. "He has started on defense so we thought it would be best to keep him in his same position. After a couple weeks of struggles against some good teams, we decided we needed our most talented and most experienced players on the field as much as possible."
Following a 115-yard, two-touchdown performance in his debut last Friday in a 45-20 win over South Bend St. Joseph, McKim could only wish he'd handed Siford the keys a little sooner.
"I was all for it," Siford said. "It's something different, a good change of pace. They asked me that Saturday if I was willing to do it and I said whatever they want me to do, center, guard, tackle. I started learning plays. There's a little learning curve, but I'm really excited with how it went. Honestly, I'm not really sure what I do. Whatever works. I just do what I'm told. I'm not the biggest guy. I try not to think, just react and take what I can get. Everything was taken care of up front. We trust each other. With our linemen, you don't see anything at all, it's all over your head, and then, boom, you're open."
A modest 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, Siford isn't especially imposing physically, but the wrestler and track sprinter/long jumper has a combination of athletic ability and toughness that work well in the backfield, where he complements speedster Noah Mungia.
"He is smaller in size but he plays big," McKim said of Siford. "He has a tremendous work ethic and he always goes 100 percent. He's a smart kid, a very personable kid. If you get him talking and asking about stories, he will ramble on. He is a positive voice and leader for our team."
The position isn't completely foreign to Siford, who played it in middle school and on JV. He is on pace to be a four-year letter winner in all three sports. He joined Rocket Football in fifth grade and has 'bled the blue and gold' since, competing year-round with teammates he's known from elementary school.
"Every sport's got its own perks," Siford said. "I just enjoy being in all of them, being around most of the same guys, spending time with my friends. Everybody has fun. There's just something special about football, the memories you make. You can't get it anywhere else. What I like most is the camaraderie, playing with the guys at practice. I like to be involved with people of all different interests. You get a new level of respect being out on the field with them."
Bobby Siford ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns in his varsity
debut at running back for New Prairie in last week's 45-20 win over
South Bend St. Joseph. (Photo courtesy of Evan Haws/New Prairie)
It makes for a busy Friday night for Siford, whose role as an outside linebacker-strong safety hybrid on defense hasn't changed. He never goes to the sidelines except for kickoff return team.
"Offense is very different," Siford said. "You have know the plays before you run them, then go a million miles per hour where you're supposed to go. On defense, it's a reaction off what somebody else is doing, and you bring aggression to it. At running back, you have same aggression, but you have to prepare and learn. I'm by no means an incredibly talented athlete. I just get some pep in my step and get where I need to go, the right place at the right time mentality."
Given his range of talents and a strong academic foundation (3.7 grade point average), Siford could probably find a place to keep playing sports in college, but he has no such plans.
"I'm not interested in being a college athlete," he said.
Siford is looking at going to Ferris State and study Automotive Engineering Technology or IU for a design program. He gets that inclination from his his dad Dan, who teaches Engineering and Robotics at South Central
"I want to do something cool. I see myself being happy making other people happy," Siford said. "Since I was little, my dad's been into cars. He's a big tinkerer. He likes to hang out in the garage. I'm maybe not as hands on as him. I'm more into the cosmetic stuff, things that look cool and go fast."
Since he's not playing sports in college, Siford is especially appreciative of having at least the first of his senior seasons during a unique school year resulting from COVID-19.
"It's high school, just soak it up and enjoy it," he said. "In 20 years, nobody remembers the scores, who did what when, where and how. It's just enjoying the time you had with your friends on the team. I'm looking forward to making more memories."