By Stan Sadler
RISON – For the second week in a row there will be plenty on the line when the Rison Wildcats play host to the Hampton Bulldogs in an 8-2A Conference clash Friday night at George Walker Field of Champions. Kickoff time for the key league contest is set for 7 o’clock. This will also mark the regular season finale for both the ‘Cats and ‘Dogs due to forfeit wins to be recorded for week 10 – Nov. 2-3, when Rison was to face Woodlawn and Hampton was to meet Hermitage. Both the Bears and Hermits have discontinued their 2017 campaigns due to injuries and low player numbers.
Rison will enter the Hampton contest after its first loss of the season, a tough 42-30 setback at the hands of Harmony Grove in an 8-2A battle last Friday, when the Hornets grabbed the driver’s seat in the league race. Harmony Grove, which is open this Friday, closes its conference schedule next week against Parkers Chapel and has the number one seed for the state playoffs all locked up.
At stake for Rison and Hampton is the runnerup spot in the conference and a number two seed from 8-2A for the state playoffs, including a first round game at home.
“The loss (at Harmony Grove) was a tough one where we had our chances, but we have to bounce back,” Rison head coach Clay Totty said early this week. “There’s still a lot to play for.”
Totty emphasized that if the ‘Cats can defeat Hampton, they can put themselves in a good position to make a deep run in the playoffs. But their focus this week has to be on Hampton, which is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the conference. Rison is 7-1 on the season and 4-1 in 8-2A play.
One thing Totty was quick to point out is that score comparisons can’t be made between the two teams, as Rison has wider margin of victories than Hampton over a couple of common opponents – Fordyce and Bearden.
To read the full article, see the October 25, 2017 print or e-Herald edition of The Herald.