Kippenbrock lets play do talking

Photo by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Southridge senior Parker Kippenbrock (40) isn't a football player of a lot of words, but his play on the field speaks the loudest.


HUNTINGBURG — Try interviewing Southridge senior Parker Kippenbrock, and you’ll get him to say very few words. A performance like the one he had in the Nov. 6 sectional championship game will force him into the spotlight that he doesn’t want.

But the Raiders (12-0) don’t mind his reticence because his play speaks volumes. Southridge captured its third sectional title in four years with a 35-7 win against the Lions — largely because of what Kippenbrock did. The wing back carried the ball two times, with both rushes resulting in touchdowns. He made life difficult for the Salem as a linebacker when he recorded four tackles for a loss and recovered a fumble in the game.

Such a performance Friday night prompted somebody in the Southridge press box to ask what made Kippenbrock mad — but he doesn’t get mad. He just goes out there and plays. The Raiders’ defense has allowed an average of merely 10.2 points per game this season, and it’s no secret that Kippenbrock has been a big reason why.

Southridge coach Scott Buening lauded Kippenbrock’s instincts as second-to-none. Buening wishes there was a way to create those instincts and make a lot of money by selling books and programs like that. Kippenbrock may not always have the correct read, or he might go after the quarterback when he’s not supposed to. But he knows when to do so, and it comes together.

“You got to have those kids who have that,” Buening said. “That’s a special ability.”

Kippenbrock demonstrated in the sectional title game against the Lions that he could level a ball carrier, and he knows what it is that can allow him to truck an opposing ball carrier as hard as he does.

“If I had to be honest, just not being afraid,” Kippenbrock said. “That’s about it.”

Buening told the Herald on Tuesday that the Raiders stopped coaching Kippenbrock and just let him run — a decision the eighth-year Southridge coach is thankful for. Not everybody has football instincts, but he does, prompting the coaching staff to get out of his way, as he’s right most of the time.

Kippenbrock insists he’s an average player, but his humility blows his coach away. Even the unprecedented ride the Raiders are on now during Kippenbrock’s final season of high school football doesn’t prompt a lot of talking out of him.

“I did not see it coming at all,” he said. “I didn’t see that, but it’s pretty nice, feels good — that’s about it.”

The Raiders saw some of what Kippenbrock could do last season as a junior, but Cole Calvert, whom Buening described as one of the best inside linebackers and players at any position in school history, was ahead of him on the depth chart. He wishes he could redshirt him.

“He’s a special kid, and this whole group has kind of been that way, and it’s what made this group go,” Buening said. “We don’t the D1 football guys running around out here — those kind of things. We’ve just got a bunch of guys that love each other. They want to do well, they want to win and they don’t care what they have to do to do it. And Parker really epitomizes all that.”

Buening joked that he’s thankful Kippenbrock doesn’t have to talk his way through Saturday’s game, but he knows the Raiders have to do what they do well in order to take down the Tigers.

Play like he did against the Lions, and Kippenbrock can help Southridge to its third trip to semi-state in the past four seasons.

“That’d feel really good,” Kippenbrock said.

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