High School Sports

Houston County senior quarterback finds his stride in big win over rival

HOCO head coach Ryan Crawford reacts to 34-3 win over Perry

Houston County High School head football coach Ryan Crawford reacts to winning 34-3 over the Perry Panthers in the opening game of the season on Aug. 23, 2019.
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Houston County High School head football coach Ryan Crawford reacts to winning 34-3 over the Perry Panthers in the opening game of the season on Aug. 23, 2019.

For two seasons, Houston County quarterback Max Rigby struggled to find his footing.

He was tossed in as a starter in his sophomore year and had plenty of growing pains along the way.

Rigby, now a senior, showcased a much-improved skill set in the Bears’ 34-3 win over the Perry Panthers on Friday night.

“The last two seasons have been really rough,” Rigby said. “Finally working for a win, it feels really good.”

The Bears came out firing as Rigby found a streaking wide receiver for a 74-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter.

It didn’t end there as he made big plays throughout the game that led to a rout of rival Perry, including a rushing touchdown to seal the victory.

At times last season, Rigby would often try to make too much happen. He had only 13 touchdowns last season to seven interceptions.

Against Perry, he didn’t have a single turnover. Head coach Ryan Crawford said that he has matured a lot in taking whatever the defense gives him.

“I think he sees the field a little bit better,” Crawford said “I think the game slows down a little bit when you get older...and understanding we can’t turn the ball over.”

Telegraph photographer Jason Vorhees' favorite photos from Houston County Bears versus Perry Panthers football game Friday August 23, 2019 in Perry, Georgia.

For Rigby, who gained 25 pounds in the off-season so he could take more hits, the win is something he felt was a long time coming: “We stuck together and this is what happens.”

For a team that has gone 4-16 over the last two seasons, Crawford said the team’s success will depend on how well Rigby can play the rest of the season.

“Max has a lot of tools and he is a hidden gem in this area. The kid can play,” Crawford said. “He just has to continue to lead us. We are going to go as he goes.”

Crawford said that while getting the opening victory was special for his kids they recognized that the season is just starting.

“This first game is huge for us because it’s a rivalry game and a big game in our area,” Crawford said. “I think this was propelling us to a good start.”

The hot start by Rigby and the team was something that didn’t just come overnight.

This has been building over the last two seasons and this past offseason. The team faced a lot of adversity due to being one of the youngest in the area.

“My mantra all offseason has been being bold and making sure we start good,” Crawford said. “We’ve got 24 seniors. Being older helps.”

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