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New Albany wants to make it four in a row over its rival and more importantly, earn a big win for its head coach.
In Friday’s Maroon Madness game, the Bulldogs want to continue its win streak against Ripley, a feat the team is proud of.
“We saw them last week against Itawamba and saw them in the spring, and they were consistent in what they were doing, so we’ve been preparing our kids to the best of our ability for what we’ve seen on film,” head coach Ron Price.”They’ll bring a lot of excitement and energy with their new coach on Friday, but I want our seniors to be able to go out saying they’ve never lost to Ripley.”
A member of that senior class, O.J. Hardin, returns after sitting out most of last season with an injury. Working hard to rehab during the offseason, Hardin is back, playing on both offense and defense.
“It was hard at first, but I just got in there and did whatever I needed to do to get back on the field, and now I’m just ready to go,” Hardin said.
Before his injury, Hardin had 34 tackles last season, and Price will have him playing inside linebacker along with Brady Barnes. On offense, Hardin will occasionally help Boston Newsome in the backfield.
“When we lost him last year, and that really hurt our team just because he was so important to what we were doing,” Price said. “He knows what he’s missed out on, and he’s been determined to get back out there and prove what he can do on the football field.”
“Hopefully going into the season, no one really remembers his name, and as the season goes on, the name O.J. Hardin will be one everyone will know.”
Friday’s game will be special, as the Bulldogs take the field after a tough offseason. Hardin and the rest of the team want to go out and not only start the season with a win, but also get this victory for Price.
“It’s very important for all of us to stay together no matter what, like we did in the offseason,” Hardin said. “We’ve taken all of this to heart, and we really believe in it. We’re ready to go out and see what happens.”
Friday’s Maroon Madness game is set for a 7:30 p.m. start at Kitchens’ Field. Fans are encouraged to participate in the festivities by wearing purple to the game in honor of Amanda Price. Also, WTVA will be on hand throughout the day, showcasing the game.