Rison Defeats Hampton in Key Conference Game to Land Two Seed for Playoffs
By Stan Sadler
RISON – There was some lightning with a weather system that moved through the area during the day last Friday. Then that night at George Walker Field of Champions, there was some lightning that struck in the form of two quick touchdowns by Rison during the first few minutes of the game, as the Wildcats bolted out of the gate and raced to a 46-14 victory over the Hampton Bulldogs in a key 8-2A Conference battle.
The win improved Rison to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in the conference, landing the Wildcats a number 2 seed and a home date in the opening round of the state playoffs that begin November 10. Meanwhile, Hampton slipped to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the league, as the Bulldogs will have to settle for a number 3 seed in the playoffs. The ‘Cats now lead the ‘Dogs in the overall series between the two teams, 22-8.
Also, many concerns that some Rison fans had about the Wildcats no longer playing in mud at home, where they seemed to thrive and take advantage of sloppy conditions, were laid to rest on the new artificial turf following some heavy showers that day and light rain during the game. And players seemed to negotiate the turf just fine, with minimal, if any, slipping.
“I was pleased,” Rison head coach Clay Totty said, commenting about the Wildcats’ effort, especially after a tough loss the week before at Camden Harmony Grove. “I thought it was the best defense we’ve played since the Bearden game,” a convincing Rison victory over a month ago. The defense came up with 3 pass interceptions, one by lineman DJ Watson on a tipped ball by Fred Marsh early in the game, when the ‘Cats took control, and the other two by RoShawn Martin and Chandler Knowles.
Just like the week before, when Totty was surprised that Rison was able to run for over 350 yards at Harmony Grove, the ‘Cats once again impressed their mentor by rushing for a smidgen over 400 yards against Hampton. In fact, all of Rison’s 403 yards came on the ground.
“I wouldn’t have thought that going into the game,” Totty remarked. “They (Hampton) are strong and pretty athletic, so I just wasn’t counting on us being able to run the ball like that. All of our offensive line played well, and this group has continued to get better.” Totty said that offensive linemen grading the highest for blocking were Jared Wilson, Ronnie Baumer and Grant King.
To read the full article, see the November 1, 2017 print or e-Herald edition of The Herald.