• Centennial football coach Kyle Geller stands with his 2017 signing class Wednesday morning. Seated are, from left, Xander Richards (Eastern Illinois University), Ryan Reid (Southern Nazarene University) and Charlie Lambert (Avilia University). BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE

Centennial football trio choose their colleges

Centennial football coach Kyle Geller was beaming Wednesday morning as three of his players signed letters of intent to further their education and football careers in college.

All-State kicker Ryan Reid signed with Southern Nazarene University, wide receiver Xander Richards is headed to Eastern Illinois and linebacker Charlie Lambert will play at Avilia University.

Reid tabbed Southern Nazarene over several schools that were vying for his kicking prowess. Maybe one of the school’s top selling points was he would be reunited with his deep snapper at Centennial, Josh Lessner, who signed with the Red Storm last year.

“I loved the campus, the coaches and the players there,” Reid said. “Playing at Centennial was a great experience. I loved the team here and it was a great family atmosphere. It just became more and more like a family each year.”

Reid, who gave up playing keeper for Centennial’s soccer team to concentrate on football, plans to study business administration.

Geller said he’d bet his life savings that Reid is the largest kicker in the state of Texas. While at Centennial, Reid broke every kicking record set by his brother Ron, who kicks for Tarleton State.

“The guys rooted for Ryan because he did everything they did,” Geller said. “He was working with them in the off-season and in the weight room with them. He loved his teammates and everyone loved him. That’s what it is all about.”

Geller described the 6-foot-4 Richards as possibly the biggest sleeper recruit around.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the best-kept secret in the Metroplex,” Geller said. “He may got to Eastern Illinois and break a lot of records. If he puts on another 20 or 30 pounds with his frame he is going to look like one of those guys who play on Sunday.”

Richards had difficulty getting a lot of film to send to schools because he was playing in a triple option offense but he praised Geller for his opportunities.

“Even though we aren’t in an offense that utilizes me that much, coach Geller utilized me the perfect amount to succeed,” Richards said.

On his visit to Eastern Illinois, Richards knew it was the right school for him.

“The players made it feel like home to me,” said Richards, who will study corporate communications. “I never wanted to leave.”

Just days before signing day, Lambert decided to accept an offer from Avilia University in Kansas City, Mo.

“I picked Avilia because the coaches are really knowledgeable and they wanted me,” said Lambert, who isn’t sure what he will study but would like to be a coach. “The education there like nothing you can get anywhere.”

Lambert credited Geller with teaching so much during his time at Centennial including the mantra “when in doubt grind it out.”

“He’s one of the best coaches I’ve had,” Lambert said. “All the success we have had in the last two years was great. It taught me that if you work hard it will pay off in the end.”

Geller said that Lambert, a second-team all-district player this season, was a great teammate, who will make a great coach one day.

“Charlie got a great scholarship offer and a great opportunity,” Geller said. “I’m really happy for Charlie because each year he just got it a little bit more. Then his junior year you could tell he had a real passion for the game. He had fun playing the game and just wanted to go out there and be the best that he could be.”

Geller said the possibility exists that a few players might sign later. Centennial quarterback and 9-5A offensive player of the year Payton Strambler has already signed a baseball letter of intent with McLennan Community College.
 

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Centennial football coach Kyle Geller stands with his 2017 signing class Wednesday morning. Seated are, from left, Xander Richards (Eastern Illinois University), Ryan Reid (Southern Nazarene University) and Charlie Lambert (Avilia University). BURLESON STAR/RICKY MOORE