By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
POND CREEK, Okla. — —
Brady Krittenbrink was excited about the challenge of going from 8-man to junior college football after the Pond Creek-Hunter star signed with traditional power Northeastern A&M Wednesday.
“It’s going to be an adjustment with three more players on the field, but that’s kind of cool,’’ Krittenbrink said. “It’s still the same game — guys on defense trying to tackle the guys on offense.’’
Krittenbrink did a good job of both in leading the Panthers to the Class B state finals. He rushed for 2,109 yards and 32 touchdowns, caught 23 passes for 368 yards and 10 scores and had 144 tackles — 50 solo and 94 assists.
“This is something I’ve been working toward since I was a little kid,’’ said Krittenbrink, the Enid News & Eagle 8-man player of the year and MVP on the All-District B-1 team. “I’m going to be playing for all the small town kids who wanted to play college football.’’
Krittenbrink will be what is described as a hybird outside linebacker-safety in NEO’s multiple defense scheme.
“I’m excited about it,’’ he said. “It’s going to be a good look for me. I’m going to miss playing running back, but I’ll be all right. This is a great spot for me.’’
He will be in pass coverage some of the time.
“We’re going to be jumping in different stuff all the time,’’ Krittenbrink said. “I will just have to read stuff. I think once I get the reps and everything, it will definitely help me out.’’
NEO will have a new head coach in Sherard Poteete, who replaced Dale Patterson, who is staying on as athletic director.
Pond Creek-Hunter coach David Kerr doesn’t think Krittenbrink will have any problems making the jump.
“I told the coaches the first thing they will realize about Brady is that they will fall in love with his work ethic and his desire to play the game,’’ Kerr said. “He will be a success up there.’’
Kerr said he has gotten to know the NEO staff through the 8-man All-Star game which is played at the Norsemen’s field, and at team camps.
Coaches have told the 190-pound Krittenbrink they would want him at 225 to 230 for the fall.
“I’m going to be hitting the weights every day,’’ Krittenbrink said. “Coach (Zach) Crissup, their strength and conditioning coach, sent me a workout schedule and that’s what I’m going to be doing in the off-season.’’
Krittenbrink selected NEO over Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southwestern Kansas, which had offered scholarships. He had thought of walking on at Oklahoma State.
“It was a big decision,’’ he said. “Honestly I was stressed out the last few weeks thinking about it. I’m glad to get it off my shoulders.’’
He chose NEO because it gave him a chance to possibly play Division I in two years.
“That’s what I’m hoping for,’’ Krittenbrink said. “Nothing is guaranteed for sure. If I work hard, it will be a possibility. NEO is a traditional place. You always hear about NEO competing for championships ... hopefully after two years I can go to Division I.’’
Krittenbrink will get his first taste of 11-man at the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State game in July.
“That was a great honor for me,’’ he said. “Not many people in 8-man et that opportunity and I feel really good about myself. That will give me a look to see where I am as far as 11-man is concerned.’’
He said a shoulder injury which gave him some problems his senior year has healed up and “is good as new.’’
Krittenbrink’s goal is to contribute immediately.
“Once I get there, I’m going to work hard,’’ he said. “I think I have a good work ethic. If I put in the time, I definitely think I can get on the field.’’