RICHTON, Miss. (WDAM) _ As a kid growing up, Richton High School football meant a lot to Dylan Farve.
“Richton football, it’s a small town,” Farve said. “I grew up here, been here all my life and looked up to the kids that have played here before me.
“My dad played when he was [at Richton] and I was kind of brought up on it. He was a wide receiver. Just passing it down, maybe I can pass it down to my kids someday.”
Farve, who was selected as Richton’s “Player of the Pine Belt,” will helm the Rebel’s offense for a second consecutive season, stepping up behind center at quarterback for his upcoming senior season.
And while Farve proved to be a playmaker in his own right as a junior (1,200 yards passing, 20 touchdowns; 699 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns), he also served as a caretaker, distributing the football to the likes of running back D.D. Griffin and multi-threat Za’darius Mitchell.
The plan worked well as the Rebels made the deepest playoff run in school history, reaching the third round of the Class 2A postseason in 2018.
This fall will bring a brave new world to Richton.
The Rebels also will find themselves facing a new set of regional rivals after moving from Region 8-2A to Region 4-1A.
Too boot, Richton will be without 20 seniors who anchored last year’s edition, including Mitchell and Griffith and all five starting offensive linemen.
While the spotlight tends to always fall on the fella under center, the glare on Farve will be even brighter now.
“Last year, naturally being a quarterback, that’s a position that kids kind of look to, but we had some other athletes around him,” Richton coach Stephen Rice said. “This year he’ll be one of our better athletes so a lot of the offense will kind of go through him and kind of be based on him being successful.”
Rice said Farve has taken his responsibilities seriously.
“He spent this summer going to some different camps around the South,” Rice said. "He went down to the Manning Academy just to really learn more about the game of playing quarterback. He’s dedicated to the position and just works really hard and wants to learn and wants to be better.
“He’s one of those quarterbacks now that can do a little bit of both. He can run the ball, he almost rushed for (700) yards last year. He threw the ball real well for us and he’s worked on that to improve that this offseason. I think he’s one of those true, dual-threat guys. He can run it and he can throw it. If he feels pressure, he’s got the legs that can make something happen when he feels that pressure.”
With Richton’s overall numbers down as well, the Rebels will ask Farve to play in the defensive backfield as well.
But Rice said if there’s one person that can handle the load, it’s Farve.
"He’s just been a great leader for us,” Rice said. “He’s kind of done it this summer in the weight room.
“He’s one of the few seniors we got returning that was a starter last year. We expect great things out of him this year.”
Farve said he’s tried to set the tone in summer workouts.
“The summer’s been way harder than last summer because we’ve had less people to perform and more people playing both sides of the field," Farve said. "So, it’s way more work and way more time.
“I looked up to a bunch of seniors on my way up and I want to be a role model to the kids looking up to me."
Pass it down. Play it forward. Watch how those before performed, then take the baton when the time comes.
It’s small-town football in the South.
It’s Richton football.
“We’ve got a group of kids here that are hard-workers,” Rice said. “This is just a small town. Most of the people that are from this town are hard workers and these kids are by-products of that. They just come in every day. We’ve had over 90 percent participation every day in our summer workout program.
”These kids have really bought in and are working hard, getting stronger, getting faster. As far as loss of talent, we’ll definitely have some kids who have really worked hard and will fill those roles.”
The Rebels will open the 2019 season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, traveling to Enterprise High School.