It may have taken five weeks into the season but Riverside Academy finally has its first win of the season following a 26-6 victory last week over Sophie B. Wright.
“The main thing with getting the win is it keeps the kids believing in what we are doing. In terms of preparation, it doesn’t change anything. We take every film, win or lose, and we see the things that work and the things you have to get better at,” Riverside coach Kevin Dizer said.
The reward for the Rebels’ win is a short week. After defeating Wright, Riverside takes to the road to face Southern Lab at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mumford Stadium on the Southern University campus in Baton Rouge.
“It cuts out one work day,” Dizer said of the Thursday game. “We will do Monday and Tuesday as normal. Right now, we want Wednesday to be a walk-through. If it’s not right Monday or Tuesday, we will just put pads on again on Wednesday to make sure we are prepared. If I feel that we need that third, fourth day, we will get it again on Wednesday instead of our normal walk-through.”
Along with a short week, Riverside will be facing a bunch of Kittens looking to scratch someone’s eyes out after being blown out 63-18 by Scotlandville last Friday.
“I would have had that game be a score or two (difference) and maybe they got beat up a little bit. Getting beat like that, you know they are looking to get past that. From you look at the game from a mental standpoint, you know you will get the best version of Southern Lab you can possibly get,” said Dizer.
In Southern Lab, the Rebels will be getting a team that is about as balanced as one can get, according to Dizer.
“They are about as close to 50-50 run-pass as you are going to get,” the Riverside coach said.
Guiding the offense is quarterback Angelo Izzard.
“The quarterback does a really good job. He’s real athletic. They throw it around and they will get into the I-formation and run power and (isolation) They are very multiple in their approach,” Dizer said.
The biggest threat on offense for the Kittens, Dizer said, is receiver Reginald Johnson, a University of Houston commitment.
“He can fly,” said Dizer. ‘Anytime he touches the football, whether in be in the return game or at receiver, he’s pretty dangerous.”
Southern Lab’s top running back is Lutrell Pruitt.
“He’s a tough runner. He’s a squatty-body type of guy. He reminds me of a kid we used to have, Brandon Sanders,” said Dizer.
Leading the Southern Lab defense, Dizer said, is Jabar Triplett.
“He’s a man. When he gets his hands on you, he’s putting you down. He’s very physical,” explained Dizer.
The overall strength of the Southern Lab defense may be the Kittens’ defensive front, according to Dizer.
“On the interior, they have two squatty-body strong guys, Landon Hunt and Nick Smith. They are hard to move. They have two, long defensive ends, Chris Bess and A.J. Bonds
The guy who runs the show on defense is Jabar Triplett. He’s a man. When he gets his hands on you, he’s putting you down. He’s very physical,” said Dizer.
A top player manning the secondary is safety Kenyon Andrews.
“I was shocked to see Scotlandville score 63 points on them because I’ve been very impressed with Southern Lab on defense,” Dizer said.
Offensive balance and ball control, said Dizer, will be the key if the Rebels are to make it two wins in a row.
“Offensively, we did a really good job running the ball against Sophie B. Wright,” Dizer said. “We’ve done a pretty good job running the ball all year. The passing attack has got to come along. We have to do a better job there.
“If we can establish the line of scrimmage, maintain a balance, that will be really good for us. I don’t think this is going to be a high-scoring football game. I don’t think we can go out there and score 40 or 50 on their defense.”