November 27, 20020
Deerfield-Windsor is playing for a state football championship for the first time since the Nixon administration.
However, one player on this year's team has heard all about that 1972 state championship game because his father was the Knights starting quarterback.
But after realizing that he and his son will both play for a state football championship at the same school, Big Wayne Riles has been reflecting on his high school football days and his final game in a Deerfield-Windsor uniform.
Big Wayne Riles said "We face Stratford Academy for the state championship and unfortunately we came out on the short end of the stick and got beat 19...19 to 7."
"Big" Wayne did win a state title when the Knights beat Stratford in basketball in 1973. 30 years later, Little Wayne and Deerfield-Windsor have beaten Stratford twice this season including the first round of the G.I.S.A. playoffs.
The thorn for the Knights this year is Westfield, their opponent in Friday's state championship game.
"Little" Wayne Riles said "They came down on senior night and they beat us 15-14 and also beat us for the region championship."
The coincidences between father and son go beyond just playing for a state championship. Deerfield-Windsor head coach Allen Lowe's father, Graham, was the school's first head football coach in 1970. Graham Lowe gave up his whistle before the '72 season to serve as Deerfield-Windsor's headmaster.
He may not have been on the sideline but Big Wayne Riles says Graham Lowe was the man most responsible for the Knights south region title that year.
Big Wayne said "I was so proud and happy that my son was going to have the oppurtunity to play for a Lowe. Coach (Graham) Lowe to this day is one of the finest people I've ever known."
Little Wayne said " He (Allen Lowe) is a great coach. He knows so much aobut the game. He is a good Christian man and he likes to spread the work in the lockeroom and we have devotions.
And while father says the thought of his son winning a state championshp Friday night gives him goosebumps,, win or lose he knows what his son and his friends will take from this special season. "Big" Wayne said " This group of seniors will be like the group of seniors in '72. They will be friends for life. They will get together ten, twenty years from now at a class reunion and they will talk about the year 2002 and they will realize it was probably the greatest year of their life."
The Riles' daughter Heather won a state basketball championship at Deerfield in 2000. The Lady Knights beat Stratford in the championship game.