Riverside Football: Full of promise, full of expectations
RESERVE — Everyone in the River Parishes knows that summer conditioning and training comes with anticipation of a spectacular football season to begin in August.
There is not a high school along either side of the river that is not working hard to prepare for this coming football season. Coach Kevin Dizer and the Riverside Academy Rebels are no different from any other high school. When asked how he feels about his team and preparing for this season, Coach Dizer said, “Going into fall and when we are here, everything is fine. I preach to my kids all the time to control what we can control, so that’s what we do. The workouts have been going great and we made the adjustments we’ve had to, and it’s become the new normal for us.So, we just move on and we can’t worry about the other stuff. All we can do is control what we can control,so it’s all good.”
Allowing the team to come out and workout, after such a rapid halt to schools and sports programs, likewise, has had a positive impact on the kids, according to Dizer. “They were just tired of sitting in the house and workouts have really served as a positive motivation.You can see it in our workouts, there’s not anything else to do right now, and those guys are working hard and doing a fantastic job,” Coach Dizer said.
The rebuilding Rebels made the playoffs last year,after a somewhat rough and rocky season. This year will be no less strenuous considering a pandemic and high school sports stuck in a “wait and see” position, but Dizer has some great aspirations for this young, yet extremely talented team and looks forward to a competitive season.
“Here we are in year three. We know we can compete, so now we have to finish! That’s what we’re looking for this year in this program. We know we’ve got a difficult schedule, we will play many good teams, we just need to finish,” Dizer said.“I feel good with where we are in the process. I do as good of a job as I can to block out the outside noise and focus on what’s happening on the inside. After the last two years we’ve had, we realize it’s a process and where we are right now in the process, we are on track for what I have envisioned. Now we just have to go out and win games!We lost four or five starters from last year, we have the majority coming back and this will be our most experienced group we’ve had. So, we have the older kids with experience, that know what’s going on and know what to do, and the younger kids should be following their example. That’s how you build a program. So now you have older kids doing the right thing and everybody follows, hopefully we can keep that going. Past problems have been the younger numbers have outweighed the veteran,so it hadn’t always been a great example. But we have a really strong senior class and a really strong sophomore class that will dictate the success of this team this year.”
The culture of Riverside is slowly changing to identify with football. How does a school known for basketball become a football school as well? Many of the athletes play both sports and contribute greatly to these programs.
“It’s just the standard…it’s just the expectations…it’s just the mindset of making somebody believe in themselves,” Dizer explained. “It’s not about winning or losing, but about how you do things. The wins come with doing things the right way; it’ll take care of itself.”
There will be stand outs and step ups that will contribute greatly to this year’s squad such as Gage Larvadain and Nick Washington, who contributed phenomenally last year and are expected to do great things again this year. Elijah Davis and Luke Hymel,more talented athletes, should contribute well offensively to the team and Cade Middleton is expected to contributeon defense. Don’t sleep on Andre Murphy, Chamar Jackson, Tairyn Lockhart and Kobe Wilson. These are definitely strong athletes to watch for.
Coach Dizer said, “My expectations for the team this year is doing things the right way. I want to see our kids do things the right way, be citizens interact with each other and treat people well. Let’s do that, if you can do that then I can teach you how to play football.”
Everone can look forward to an exciting year at Riverside this year. This is a team that is extremely talented, full of promise and looking to exceed the expectations.
–This article was written by Tara Williams, contributor to L’OBSERVATEUR.