Football lessons never end for coach's kid at Rock Bridge

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 | 8:05 p.m. CDT
Wide receiver Alex Ofodile completes a pass and then is knocked down by Zumwalt West's Devin Strauss and Rourke Penn on Sept. 6. Ofodile is the son of the Rock Bridge head coach A.J. Ofodile.

COLUMBIA — After practice, most players go home, relax and wait until the next day to worry about football again.

Junior receiver Alex Ofodile, 16, isn’t like most players.

Friday's game

Raymore-Peculiar (1-2) at Rock Bridge (3-0)

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Rock Bridge High School, Rock Bridge Field

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Being the son of head football coach A.J. Ofodile, Alex Ofodile knows that football never stops, even at home. And he prefers it that way.

When Alex gets home, A.J. might go over a few things with Alex that they missed in practice. Then, of course, there is A.J. getting on his case about finishing his homework. But those things are OK with Alex.

"I definitely get the extra tips," Alex Ofodile said. "When I leave practice, I have to go home to talking about what I need to do better. It’s definitely a help; it's an advantage, I think."

Football isn’t just a game for Alex Ofodile or just a job for A.J. Ofodile. It’s a way for the two to bond as a family.

"We're pretty close," A.J. Ofodile said. "I think we're both football junkies, so we have a lot in common as it relates to that."

With Alex Ofodile in year three on the team, the two are used to being together on the field now. However, things weren't so easy in Alex Ofodile's freshman and sophomore years. A.J. Ofodile says he tries not to hyper-focus on everything his son does as he used to do.

"He couldn't catch a break for the first couple years," A.J. Ofodile said. "No matter what, my eyes would always catch him. He couldn't get away with anything."

A.J. Ofodile still has high expectations for his son as any father would. But he doesn't necessarily expect more of his son than he does the rest of the team members.

Over the years, A.J. Ofodile has taken on a father-figure role to other players, as well, and he expects just as much out of them as he would his own son.

"Off the field, I have a lot of teammates that are like brothers to me that my dad has taken under his wing," Alex Ofodile said. "I think he does a really good job of making everything even."

"For sure, I'm probably a little bit closer than everyone else," he added. "But for the most part, off the field, he's kind of like a father figure to a lot of people."

A.J. Ofodile feels that even though his son's high school career has been a successful one, he can still go beyond what he has already accomplished. And he has accomplished quite a lot for a junior.

As a sophomore, Alex Ofodile caught 59 passes for 805 yards. This season, he has already hauled in four touchdowns in three games. He is likely to be a Division-I player and has received recruiting interest from Missouri, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Mississippi and other schools.

"He's got an unusual talent," A.J. Ofodile said. "He’s got a gift for the game. He's been around it his whole life. His skill set, even for a 16-year-old, is really elevated."

"I don't think it's as much me expecting more out of him than the other guys," he said. "It's me expecting more out of him than where he is right now. I think that'll pay off in the long run."

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