ALEXANDRIA (KALB) -- Of the many things that the ASH Trojans football players are excited about ahead of their Red River Rivalry showdown from Pineville, the biggest thing is that they won't have to travel to a game for the first time in a month.
"Getting that time to kind of sit back and relax before the game, not being on the bus ride, should be a good affect," said senior running back Michael Orphey. "Having the home crowd at our back in this rivalry with guys we've known for a really long time."
When Orphey and the Trojans face off against the Rebels on Thursday at Butch Stoker Stadium, it will be the first time since September 22 that they play on their home field.
The last month has seen ASH make trips out to Jena, Natchitoches Central, West Monroe and Ruston. Transportation to those games meant a total of more than 300 miles, one-way, on a bus to get to those destinations.
A 30-7 win over Natchitoches Central on October 6 was the only bright spot the Trojans have to show for that journey.
"We're excited to be back home obviously," said Trojans coach Thomas Bachman. "We've had great crowds here, it's been great support in the games we've played here.
"Both teams will be up for this game, both communities will be up for this game, there's a lot of school pride that is on the line."
For Bachman, Thursday's game is not only big for him in terms of the rivalry, but also because he will be going up against his friend and mentor, Dennis Dunn.
Bachman was Dunn's quarterback during there days at Evangel. But beyond that bond, Dunn also presided over Bachman's wedding this past summer.
"He's a man that I look to for direction not just in terms of a football sense but in a life sense," Bachman said. "As far as that is concerned, I don't think that much has changed, but obviously when you get ready to play each other, there's a chance you're a little more guarded in your approach and what you're willing to share with each other."
This isn't the first time Bachman has faced off against a significant figure in his life.
In the Trojans' last game at Butch Stoker Stadium, Bachman faced off against his father, John, who was the coach of Red River. The younger Bachman won that day, 40-20, and he is looking for another victory this week.