Features | Friday Night Drive

‘Consummate team player’ McCord willing to contribute wherever Rock Falls needs him

ROCK FALLS – As a four-year varsity football player for Rock Falls, Ryan McCord has played all over the field.

When the Rockets needed a center last season – and earlier this season – McCord was there to answer the call. When they’ve had a hole to fill on the defensive line, he was ready to step in.

Playing a variety of roles is something the senior has grown accustomed to, and although it can be tough for the 5-foot-9, 165-pounder, he doesn’t seem to mind all the moving around.

“I’ve played kind of all around. I was put on the line last year because we were struggling to find someone who could snap the ball, so they had me in to snap it, and I did fine,” McCord said. “And then this year, we’ve been trying to get another center, but I had to snap the first two games on late notice. But it’s OK, I’ll do what I have to do.”

Shuffling through positions, especially in a short amount of time, can be incredibly difficult for a football player, as some of the positions employ very different techniques and have vastly different responsibilities.

But McCord just wants to help his team succeed in any way he can.

“I like it. It’s definitely nice to be in different spots rather just one constantly,” he said.

In Week 3, his offensive role reverted back to what it was intended to be at the start of the season: running back.

While McCord enjoys the varied roles, he’s happy to be back in the backfield.

“It’s nice. I love running the ball. I think it’s awesome,” he said.

No matter what the team asks of him, or where he’s asked to play, McCord – whose father, Ron, was the Rockets’ head coach for seven years from 1997-2003 before Ryan was born – is always ready and willing to fill in where needed, coach Kevin Parker says.

“We’ve had some issues at center. He played the whole offseason thinking he was going to be running back, and went through our offseason practices as a running back,” Parker said. “Our center just wasn’t getting the snap the way it needs to be, and he steps right in. He doesn’t even have to practice it. He goes in, gives it everything he’s got. He’s going against some of the biggest kids in the conference at times, and he gives it everything he has.

“And the kid has done everything we’ve ever asked him to do. He’s a leader on the field, off the field, in the weight room, doesn’t matter where it is. He’s the consummate player, and I wish I had 20 of him.”

Having a player with McCord’s versatility and selflessness has a been a big asset to the Rockets the past few seasons, Parker says. As Rock Falls tries to build a winning culture under the third-year head coach, it’s looking to find more kids in that same vein.

“He’s played everything we’ve ever asked him to, and kids like that only make our program better,” Parker said. “We need to find more and more kids like that.”