Out of their fathers’ shadows

DYLAN FOREMAN; Sports Editor; foremadf@plu.edu

Carson Barnett

Photos courtesy of golutes.com
Photos courtesy of golutes.com

Sophomore Carson Barnett, a defensive back, is a fanboy. Talking to him about his father, Chad Barnett, Carson knows that his father is undoubtedly one of the greatest football players to come through Pacific Lutheran University based off school as well as what some of the coaching staff has told him.

Now, Carson has an advantage that not many people have: he’s got a future hall-of-fame athlete in his corner as a coach.

“My dad is the best coach I’ve ever had and will forever be the best coach I’ve ever had,” Barnett said. “I get to go home to an All-American player. I have free access that nobody else has.”

Being a legacy of such a talented player, the expectation would be that Carson live up to those same standards, but, as Carson puts it, his father is perfectly happy supporting him in whatever path he chooses to go down.

“He never once told me to go to PLU; he told me to go wherever you want to go,” Carson reassured. Carson’s father told him, “I had my time; do your thing; live your legacy; don’t live in the past.”

Chad Barnett’s words of advice still resonate to this day with his son: “Hard work will create success.” With the appreciation of his father’s time at PLU and his own personal ambitions, Carson will keep working away at creating his own legacy.

Chad Barnett Records: 1990-1993

all-time in scoring (340 points)

all-time career touchdowns (56)

4th in single season receiving TDs (14)

2nd in single season scoring TDs (20)

2nd in single season scoring (122 points)

Ben Welchben

As a child, senior Ben Welch, a wide receiver, was always around the PLU football team. His father, Steve Welch, is arguably one of the greatest pass-catchers in PLU’s storied history. “I’ve always been in that PLU circle,” Ben said.

Ben is now a two-sport athlete, playing baseball and football. He has a starring role on both teams, but for him, it’s not about the statistics or the records that drives him.

“A theme of PLU football is it’s not always about the successes or failures on the football field. It’s more about the relationships I’m building and the friendships I’ll take away from the program.”

Steve shares this sentiment as well. He has instilled those same values  he learned from his legendary PLU football coach, Frosty Westering, in his son. For Steve, that meant leaving it up to his son to pursue his own endeavors.

“My dad completely left it up to me —  ‘It’s up to you; we are going to support you with whatever decision you make,’” Ben quoted. “He didn’t want me to think I was playing in his shadow.”

With Ben’s play on the field, it is clear he is far outside his father’s shadow and in terms of their father-son relationship, it is strong.

“In high school he was more like an authoritative figure, but now he’s become more like a friend.”

Steve Welch Records: 1984-1986

Consecutive games with a TD (15)

7th in single season receiving
yards (1,039)

2nd in single season reception TDs (17)

6th in single season scoring TDs (17)

6th in single season scoring (106)

Christian Riddallchristian

In the small town of Nikiski, Alaska, sophomore Christian Riddall, a defensive end, was originally poised to go work in the oil fields following high school graduation. After realizing that his football skill could take him to the next level, he reconsidered. It also helped that his father, Ted Riddall, is a hall-of-fame defensive end who holds the record for most sacks in a career and in a season.

At first, Christian was skeptical to compare himself to his father: “My dad was a freak. How could I stack up to him?”

As time progressed, though, Christian came to terms with the idea that he may not attain the legacy of his father during his time at PLU. Even still, that has not stopped him from continuing to work to be the best player he can be.

As Christian recalls, the engraving on his state championship ring from high school reads “Warrior up, never back down and fight through everything.”

With Ted serving as his son’s coach in high school, that slogan always stuck in his mind since being the coach’s son meant being pushed even harder than the rest. But as it turns out, the move to PLU became a better choice than the oil fields back in Alaska, and his father couldn’t be more proud that Christian is a Lute.

“He’s glad that I’m here; he’s glad that I’m going to school,” Christian said. “I thought about Linfield for a while and he said he could form to being a [Linfield] Wildcat, but he didn’t really want to do that.”

Ted Riddall Records: 1991-1994

PLU Hall of Fame Class of 2014

1st in career sacks (41)

1st in single season sacks (21)

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