The rivalry between Fordyce and Rison has been going on for decades, but this year’s game will have a more emotional feel to it.
The Rison football team remembers Logan Prescott, who was killed in a car accident on Aug. 7, during the season. Players Josh Cook and Justin Ross were also injured in the accident.
“I am proud of our kids and they remember Logan everyday,” coach Clay Totty said. “We are doing the best we can. There is no good way to deal with it. We just have to stick together.”
The loss of Prescott is not just felt in Rison, but also its rival town.
“I just know it’s going to be a big ball game in terms of it being emotional,” Fordyce coach Tim Rodgers said. “Our kids know some of their kids and I have been around coach Totty for a long time. Now we can put that aside and play a ball game.”
Rison will host this year’s installment of the rivalry, which seems appropriate after the loss of Prescott.
“It always means a lot to us to play at home,” Totty said. “It’s definitely a team of our community and they rally around us. We are certainly excited about having it at home.”
Even with all of the emotion surrounding Friday’s game, the game should still provide a good amount of excitement.
“It’s a great rivalry and a good, clean game,” Rodgers said. “It should be a great ball game Friday night and it’s what high school football is all about.”
Last year, Fordyce beat Rison for the first time in a few years in the rivalry. The Redbugs could be primed to put together a winning streak in the series since they are returning nine starters on offense, whereas Rison only has three starters back on defense.
Senior Cole Johnson is back under center to lead Fordyce’s offense. Last year, Johnson passed for 2,281 yards and 25 touchdowns compared to just five interceptions.
Senior Mark Grice is back at running back along with receivers Rashad Allen and Braden Chambers, and all five starters on the offensive line return.
”I don’t know if you can stop them, you just try and contain them and get some turnovers,” Totty said. “They are very experienced and explosive. We have to make them earn everything they get.”
Fordyce should have a clear advantage with a lack of starters returning on defense for Rison, but Rodgers does not think that will play too much of a factor.
“I’ve been here 27 years and experience for Clay Totty’s teams has never been a problem,” he said. “They may not have kids that played a lot, but he always has them prepared.”
The question marks for Fordyce are on the defensive side of the ball with only four starters back from last year.
“We’ve got kids who haven’t started big games like this,” Rodgers said. “Our secondary, we’ve got three guys that have only played in about one game, so that is a big worry for us.”
Totty has also noticed the Fordyce’s lack of experience in the secondary, and he plans on attacking it.
“We hope to exploit their secondary and hopefully get some big plays,” he said. “The kids have focused on this game in the offseason and they know it’s a big game, and we look forward to playing it.”