RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) John Reiners says, ' I think Eriq is a great leader not just on the field but off the field. When you look at I've seen him where kids from the Pine Ridge Reservation or anywhere they come up and they look up to him.'
Like many High School athlete's Swiftwater played multiple sports, unlike many of those kids Swiftwater played at two different schools after Oelrich's didn't field a football team.
Reiners, ' Oh he was a playmaker coming out of Hot Springs.'
Eriq Swiftwater says, ' It was actually my best friend in high school at the time. He kind of gave me a call and was like we are playing football in Hot Springs this year and nobody else wants to play and I know you like playing, do you want to come with me? That sold me on it and I was always intrigued by the 11 man football, in Oelrichs we played 9 man football so the whole 11 man class A thing kind of intrigued me and I was up for the challenge.'
With the 11 man football challenge behind him, Swiftwater is taking a much bigger, and important goal.
Swiftwater says, ' It is a great feeling honestly. I kind of endured that role when I left High School. Not a lot of people I guess do that sort of thing when you leave from places I come from. That was one of the biggest things I wanted to change because I see all the potential and all these great kids that are down there..'
those aren't just words from Swiftwater, his coach sees him living those words every Saturday.
Reiners says, ' I've seen him out here for an hour after the game signing autographs or signing t-shirts. That's big to have a local kid that comes from Oelrichs, Hot Springs to be in our program and have the success he has but be able to give that back to the youth.'
Swiftwater says, ' Just a heartwarming feeling knowing I was once in that position.'
giving back to the youth as a college athlete on scholarship fulfills a promise that Swiftwater made as a young man.
Swiftwater says,' That to this day is probably one of the best things I've ever felt in my life so far, you know what I mean. Growing up I would always tell my mom I'm going to make and get this scholarship this is what I'm going to do and I'm going to do it for you.'
Good luck to the Black Hills State YellowJackets and Eriq Swiftwater on the upcoming season. Jeff Voss Black Hills Fox Sports