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Football is everything to Heritage sophomore running back Devon Rivers’ family.
Those before him showed what it takes to excel and be great at what you love. His father, Ron Rivers, is in the Fresno State Hall of Fame and played eight years in the National Football League. His older brother, Ronnie Rivers, was a three-star recruit at Freedom and is now a starting running back at Fresno State.
Greatness is in them, and Devon Rivers is the next in line.
“They’ve shown me that a lot of the times, especially kids our age, it’s not just talent,” Devon Rivers said. “It’s hard work. You’ve got to put in all the work. You don’t put in the work, all those kids that may have been a little bit worse than you coming up, growing up, they’re going to get better than you if they’re putting in the work and you’re not.”
The two Rivers brothers are competitive with each other – which is all fun and games – and Devon Rivers said they’ve been comparing stats from their sophomore seasons.
Since Devon Rivers’ sophomore campaign is only six games due to the shortened COVID-19 spring season, they can only go based off the first six games when it’s all complete. And, right now, Devon Rivers is in the lead.
Devon Rivers is up to 645 rushing yards, making him the No. 1 rusher in the North Coast Section and the No. 4 rusher in California. Two of his four games went for 200-plus yards: 267 in the season opener versus Granada and 224 versus Freedom.
On top of that, Devon Rivers has nine touchdown runs.
Through Ronnie Rivers’ first six games, he had 570 yards and seven touchdowns. For his entire sophomore year, he had 955 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Advantage: Devon Rivers.
“It’s going good actually,” Devon Rivers said. “I’m only one touchdown away with two games, and I think I’ve passed him in yards already, so it’s going good.”
One thing Ronnie Rivers taught Devon Rivers was that, while he may not boast the recruiting stars like some of his fellow 2023 counterparts in the region, the process will take care of itself.
All you can do is put in your maximum effort.
“He’s been telling me, ‘Don’t worry about the big names, who has stars and all that because your time will come. It doesn’t matter if you get an offer this year, next year. You’re going to get them soon. You’ve just got to wait for your time.’”
The success is certainly there, but Devon Rivers didn’t even expect to be the No. 4 rusher in California during his first varsity season.
Yet, here he is, sitting as one of the state’s premier running backs – which he credits to the big boys up front.
“My o-line has been doing a lot, opening a lot of big holes, giving me a lot of running room,” Devon Rivers said. “And once I get past the linebackers and stuff, it’s easy to make 1 on 1 moves.”
Devon Rivers and Heritage are part of a historical run, too. They currently boast a 3-1 overall record and are 2-1 in Bay Valley Athletic League play, uber close to tying the school’s best-ever league mark at 4-1.
“For our team, we’re trying to tie the school’s best record right now,” Devon Rivers said. “We’re trying to tie it: 4-1. And, for me, I’m just trying to be the best I can to help my team out.”
And Devon Rivers doesn’t want to just be the next great athlete from the Rivers family.
He wants to be the best.
“I just want to be better than them, show everybody that it’s not just those two,” Devon Rivers said.
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