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Football, baseball keep Airline’s Rivers busy

Jere Grice/Press-Tribune Airline's Chase Rivers is keeping busy this summer playing baseball and preparing for the football season.

Russell Hedges


Between playing baseball and preparing for the upcoming football season, Airline’s Chase Rivers doesn’t have time for much else this summer.

But that’s fine by him. In fact, juggling both sports is not something that he finds difficult to do.

“It’s not tough when you’re doing something you love,” he said.

Rivers, who will be a senior this fall, is the heir apparent to Hayden Hildebrand at quarterback.

He was also a standout first baseman on the Vikings’ 2013 playoff team.

This month, Rivers has a schedule that goes something like this:

Monday — Football at 7:30 a.m. and a Dixie Majors baseball game at 8 p.m.

Tuesday — Football at 7:30 a.m., a 7-on-7 football game at 6 and a Dixie game at 8.

Wednesday — Off.

Thursday — Football at 7:30 a.m. and a baseball game at 8.

Friday — Off.

He’s also spent one weekend this month playing for the Airline Prospects baseball travel team, which is in a tournament at Louisiana-Lafayette this weekend.

It’s actually not an unusual schedule for Rivers, who has been spending his summers doing the same thing since he reached high school.

Rivers spent the last two seasons backing up and learning from Hildebrand, who will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of Bossier Parish football.

“He helped me a lot,” Rivers said of Hildebrand. “Every time he came off the field, I’d talk to him, ‘What did you see here; what were you thinking there?’ and that’s really helped me going forward this year.”

Rivers said he doesn’t really feel any pressure following in Hildebrand’s footsteps.

“You can’t really worry about it and what other people think about you,” he said.

Not only will Airline have a new starting quarterback in Rivers this fall, the Vikings have a whole new set of receivers.

Rivers has worked with them in JV ball the last couple of years, but he said playing 7-on-7 is helping them get to know each other better.

“It helps with the receivers and everybody —how we need to get open, when do we need to get open, how we get off the ball and when do I need to throw it.”

Rivers is determined to be ready when the Vikings open the season Sept. 6 against Bossier.

“Really, I need to get better at all aspects of the game,” he said. “I”m just constantly learning.”

Airline head coach Bo Meeks said Rivers has made steady progress during the offseason.

“Since getting back from baseball he’s really gotten locked in,” Meeks said. “He’s continued to improve every time we go out whether it’s throwing and catching in 7-on-7. Just like anybody he’s got things he’s got to improve at, but he’s really working hard every time he’s out there.”

Accuracy down the field, arm strength and a quick release are important for a quarterback to master in Airline’s spread offense. Rivers has been working with Meeks to improve on all three.

“Just being more decisive and confident in his ability because he has the ability to do the job we need done,” Meeks said.

Meeks said Rivers also has the right attitude when it comes to replacing Hildebrand.

“Just take what he’s learned from Hayden

Russell Hedges/Press-Tribune Airline's Chase Rivers looks for a receiver during a 7-on7 game against Benton.
Russell Hedges/Press-Tribune
Airline’s Chase Rivers looks for a receiver during a 7-on7 game against Benton.

and put it do use. Don’t worry about trying to replace him. He’s got to be Chase Rivers.”


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