Riley Crain: From Futbol to Football

Riley Crain: From Futbol to Football

Riley Crain is a junior two sport sport athlete here at Carterville High School.  He plays football and runs track, but soccer was his first love.

Crain started playing soccer when he was about three years old.  He played for 13 years from when he was three to the end of his eighth grade year. He quit soccer to play his new love of football at the beginning of high school.  

When Crain started playing, he played for a Pre-K Tri-C soccer team to learn and to get his feet wet on the pitch for the first time.  Crain played in junior high for Carterville, SI Force out of Carbondale and FC Pumas out of Paducah, KY.  Crain traveled to St. Louis multiple times, and he had to travel to Paducah all the time for practice and games. He even had a stint in Orlando, FL. Luckily, Crain stayed injury free his whole soccer career.  He played soccer with a lot of different friends in his younger years, but notably his best friend, and fellow CHS Junior, Jake Mason.

Crain had a decision to make at the end of eighth grade.  Did he want to continue his soccer career or play a new sport in high school?  He decided to try something new and play a new sport:football.  

Crain said about why he chose football over any other sport.  “It’s a fun sport to play, you can go around and hit people” 

Crain’s parents never allowed him to play football until he got to the high school ranks.  When he did, his athleticism started to show.

Crain started playing football his freshman year of high school.  He was the starting wide receiver and safety on the freshman team.  His offensive work and preparation became a lot more important with football opposed to soccer.  More specifically, he had to put more time into lifting and time in the gym. 

 Crain’s first football coach was Sean Langtange. “He definitely taught me how to play football since it was my first time ever playing my freshmen year. He was my freshman coach, so he taught me the gist of playing football,” said Crain. 

The physical demand of soccer is different from the demand of football, because in soccer you pretty much just run for 90 minutes straight. For football you run in pads and helmet, get hit, block and get blocked the whole game.  

Crain said that Sean Jeralds (CHS’  defensive coordinator) was the coach on the staff that impacted him the most.  

Crain said about Coach Jeralds “It’s definitely coach Jeralds because when I go to college to play football I want to be a safety.  He’s my defensive coordinator and he has taught me a lot about how to play my position and football in general and he’s just always been there for me.”  

His favorite memories of his freshmen year was his first game ever against Benton and against Du Quoin.  He said about the Benton game. “It was just a good game, it was neck and neck the whole game… The Du Quoin game went into triple overtime and we ended up losing.” 

In Crain’s sophomore year he got the chance to be the starting place kicker and a backup wide receiver for Blake Burkey, who was a senior at the time.  He also played a large role on the 2022 football team that went all the way to the state quarterfinals and went 11-1 on the season.

His expectations were different for his junior year because he had new roles to play.  Like his freshman year, he played on offense, defense, and special teams as place kicker once again. 

Crain said about his junior season “I’d say it was pretty successful. Especially defensively, it was pretty successful.” 

Crain’s receiving stats were solid, boasting 22 receptions for 371 yards, with five touchdowns on the season.  In the game against West Frankfort in week 3, Crain caught four passes for 120 yards, including a 43-yard pass.  

Crain’s junior season was a big step toward his ultimate goal of playing football in college.  

As a team, Crain said “We weren’t supposed to win a game last year and we started the season 5-0.” 

The homecoming game against St. Joe Ogden was another one of his favorite memories.  Crain scored two touchdowns in the first half, giving the Lions a slight cushion going into halftime.  Crain also had seven receptions for 80 yards and tallied 5 tackles in that monumental victory. 

Crain spoke on his future. “I am definitely going to play football in college.  I am probably going to college to be an athletic trainer/physical therapist.” 


About the Contributor
Jaxson Hawthorne
Jaxson is a junior at Carterville High School. He serves as a manager for multiple Lion teams and enjoys watching sports. He loves being involved in activities with friends. Jaxson loves eating at Buffalo Wild Wings.