WAYNESBORO — Rick Rice pondered the question for a moment earlier this week on the Guy H. Buchanan Stadium field.
The Wayne County football coach had just wrapped up practice and his team was busy going over game film in preparation for Friday’s Class 1A home first-round playoff game with Middle Tennessee Christian School.
Just who is the best quarterback in the Rice family? After all, this is a family full of quarterbacks.
Rice’s youngest son, Preston Rice, is wrapping up his senior year as a four-year starting quarterback. The oldest son, Tyler Rice, was a quarterback from 2007-10 and won the 2010 Class 1A Mr. Football Back Award.
The middle son, Austin Rice, led the Wildcats to a 2011 Class 1A state title in his lone year at quarterback. It’s the only football state championship at the rural Tennessee school. Austin Rice was a starting receiver for three years with Tyler Rice.
And Rick Rice was a standout quarterback at McEwen and later played at Austin Peay.
“I always tell them that I am,” said Rick Rice, a 1981 McEwen graduate. “My brother (Mickey) always says that daddy (Rudy) was the best quarterback. Of course, he never saw him play.
“But I’ve heard people in the McEwen community say, ‘You know Ricky, he was the real deal.”
The rest of the family hasn’t been bad either. But Preston Rice, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior, is the last of the bunch and has an opportunity to go out in style.
The 2015 Tennessee Titans Class 1A Mr. Football finalist enters the postseason having completed 103 of 171 passes for 2,333 yards with 31 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He’s also added 472 rushing yards and nine scores.
For his career, he’s thrown for 6,877 yards with 87 passing touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
The youngest Rice said watching his two older brothers play prepped him for his turn at the position.
However, he’s quick to point out he’s not playing in anyone’s shadow.
“(Austin) is really humble (about the state championship),” Preston said. “He’ll tell you every once in awhile that he got it. And Tyler got Mr. Football. Being the baby in the family, they’ll remind me, ‘I did this and I did that.’
“It’s just been fun for me. I don’t look at it that I have to live in their footsteps. I don’t pay attention to what anyone else thinks.”
Preston and his father spend their weeknights dissecting game film. And on Saturdays, Preston will often drive over to the school and watch film with his dad and any coaches present.
“We go over it a lot,” Preston said. “He goes over what he sees. I then tell him what I see.
“We love it so much. We never take a break from it.”
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-259-8089 and on Twitter @Kreager.
Rice family quarterbacks at Wayne County
Tyler Rice: Starter from 2007-2010, 6,731 passing yards, 87 touchdowns, 27 interceptions
Austin Rice: Starter in 2011, 942 yards, 8 touchdowns, five interceptions
Preston Rice: Starter from 2013-2016, 6,8977 yards, 87 touchdowns, 22 interceptions
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