A look at this year’s Westside Seminoles football team
In a scrimmage game against Warner Robins his sophomore year, Sheddrick “Scooter” Risper Jr. scored his first touchdown. It was his first start in a Westside High football game.
He lined up against his opponent and got around him using his patented double move. Scooter then sprinted down the sideline. His dad, Westside head coach Sheddrick “Spoon” Risper, watched from the sideline.
“I am just thinking to myself, my quarterback was about to throw it to him and I was like please god don’t let him overthrow him,” Spoon said. “(Scooter) ran right underneath the ball, scored a long touchdown. That was one of my most memorable moments with Scooter.”
Now Scooter will walk across the graduation stage on Saturday with plans to play for the University of West Georgia in the fall after receiving scholarship offers from 31 different schools in both athletics and academics totaling over $320,000 .
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He views it as an opportunity to walk in his dad’s footsteps as he played college football for the Wolves. This led him to choose them over schools like Georgia, Clemson and Mercer.
“To know that I could go up there and continue on the legacy really meant a lot to me, so that played a big part in my decision going to West Georgia.” Scooter said. “Just to know he did what he did at that school meant a lot to me.”
First word? ‘Hutball’
After finishing up his career at West Georgia, Spoon moved to Macon to play for the Macon Knights, a then-arena football team. Scooter would come to the games and watch Spoon play at an early age, often imitating the end zone dances of his father after Spoon would score a touchdown.
“When he was little he couldn’t say the word football. He said ‘hutball.’ Actually, ‘hutball’ was one of his first words as a child,” Spoon said. “I can still visualize him playing with the football, diving over the sofa pretending he scored a touchdown … dancing like his dad.”
Spoon joined the staff at Westside in 1998 and would take over as the head coach of the Seminoles in 2009. He says that it will be weird not having Scooter on the sidelines.
“For me as a parent and a coach, it is kind of bittersweet,” he said. “Westside is basically all that he knows … I am just going to miss him being my son, you know in our school, miss seeing him every day.”
Playing football under the guidance of his father is something Scooter will forever cherish.
“It is not every day you get to play for your dad. That was a blessing. I am definitely going to miss that.” he said. “Just like he said seeing him every day in the halls, joking around with him.”
Opportunities a ‘blessing’
Spoon is happy that Scooter is staying close to home. When the offers and acceptance letters started pouring in, Scooter’s parents weren’t sure where he’d end up.
“My wife and I were fired up about it and excited,” he said. “It became a little stressful because a lot of the schools that were offering either for football or academically, they were a long ways off.”
Scooter eventually chose West Georgia over Reinhardt University after visiting each school. He said that the offers he got to play football were at the top of his list.
“It was very important. That’s been the goal ever since I was a little kid — just to play college football,” he said. “To know that I had all those opportunities to even play college football was a blessing.”
Scooter is hoping that after he graduates from West Georgia that he can return home to Westside.
“The long term for me is to major in physical education and come back and possibly coach with my father here and just give back to the community,” he said. “As a child, I spent an ample amount of time with him (Spoon). Everything he did I tried to imitate it. So that bond that we have is very close.”
Spoon says that he already has a vision of being able to bring his son back on board at Westside.
“He is only 18. He kinda knows it but he doesn’t really know it but he is going to be a much better player than I was in college and he is going to be a great coach,” Spoon said. “I just see him one day being my offensive coordinator … whenever I retire or he is tired of working for me, he will be a head coach one day.”