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MICHAEL DIX / RUNNING BACK

Michael Dix has emerged as River Ridge's top rusher with 98 carries for 589 yards and three touchdowns this season, coming off back-to-back 100-yard games. But not many running backs are 6-foot-1, 260-pounds. On the eve of the biggest game of his career against rival Mitchell, the senior Royal Knight goes one-on-one with staff writer Jamal Thalji (with some input from teammate Jahmaal Osbourne):

JT: How much do you want this game? How badly do you want to beat Mitchell?

MD: Very, very bad. This is for playoff positioning; this game just means a lot.

JT: But it's more than that, isn't it? Mitchell coach Scott Schmitz used to coach at River Ridge, and last year they whipped you 21-3 at your place.

MD: I wasn't here when Coach Schmitz was here, but I definitely remember last year. There's a little revenge there that we want. It's a payback thing.

JT: How bad was that loss?

MD: Last year, that was very embarrassing. We came out expecting to beat them, and we pretty much got ran over. We didn't expect that. This year we have to come out ... and take over the game.

JT: You're a 260-pound running back. Is it good to be a running back that big? Does it make you harder to tackle or just mean there's more of you to hit?

MD: Actually I think it's pretty good. Because there's a lot of me to hit, you've still got to take me down, and it takes a lot more because of my size.

JT: What if you could run like Osbourne (who runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash)?

MD: If I could run like Jahmaal? I would be the leading rusher (in the county.) I wish I could run like Jahmaal. I always get those little breaks and I get into the middle of the field and I think I'm going to take off but someone always catches me. I used to be his size. Then after my eighth grade summer I got bigger. I hit puberty hard. My whole family is naturally big.

JT: Jahmaal, what if Michael returned kicks?

JO: I'd be scared to be on the kicking team.

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