Football: Family defense – Roths join forces for Eagles

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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Strong Defense

STRONG DEFENSE – Decatur senior Braxton Roth (31) is averaging 11 tackles per game and has nine stops for losses. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Growing up as the son of a coach, Braxton Roth found himself on the sidelines on Friday nights, longing for a chance to take the field.

“When I was a kid I was the ball boy and always wanted to be on the field,” Roth said. “Now, I’m blessed to play Friday night football. It’s even more special with my dad being there.”

The senior, who splits time at defensive end and linebacker, will be on the field Friday when the Eagles play their annual homecoming game against the Stephenville Yellowjackets with his father, defensive coordinator Tony Roth, on the sidelines.

A chance to share the game is something the Roths relish.

“It’s how we bond. We spend so much time on the field and off it, talking about football,” Roth said.

For the veteran coach, who arrived in Decatur with head coach Mike Fuller four seasons ago, he’s enjoyed watching his son play up close.

Family Game

FAMILY GAME – Decatur defensive coordinator Tony Roth and his son Braxton have teamed together on the defensive side of the ball for the 2-1 Eagles. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I enjoy being able to see how he interacts with others,” Tony Roth said. “I never imagine he would play the way he is. He doesn’t have any of the measurables, but he’s usually in the right place at the right time.”

Since the start of the season, the younger Roth has been a regular in opponents’ backfields. He leads the team in tackles for losses with nine. He also has a sack.

“His motor is always running. He makes up for a lack of athleticism by always hustling,” Tony Roth said.

His best game came against Alvarado when he recorded four tackles for losses among his five stops. He also had a quarterback hurry to earn the county’s top defensive player honor for the week.

Braxton Roth has turned in the solid numbers while sliding between linebacker and defensive end. He doesn’t mind moving around.

“Wherever I can help I’ll go, I just want to do what’s best for the team,” he said. “I just love playing football.”

In critiquing film or in defensive huddles, the coach says he tries to treat his son like the rest of the players.

“I probably do have an eye on him more, but it’s his mom that’s harder on him,” Tony Roth said.

Braxton agrees.

“She watches film with dad and I and critiques us,” he said.

On the field, Braxton occasionally provides suggestions to his father based on what the opposing offense is doing.

“He’s been around it all his life, watching film and listening in on meetings. He will give me suggestions,” Tony Roth said.

Braxton does feel there are expectations of him being the son of a coach.

“I feel like more eyes are on me being a coach’s kid,” Braxton said.

But it hasn’t slowed him or bothered him. When he makes a big play on the defensive side of the ball, Braxton usually stares at the sideline to find his father.

“I always like a big sack and looking at the sideline and seeing him more pumped up than anyone,” Braxton said.

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