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The Athens Bulldogs run out onto the field to face the Parkersburg South (West Virginia) Patriots. The Bulldogs would pull away late in the foruth quarter to win the game 26-16. (File)

Athens Football: Athens carries strange advantage into matchup with Alexander

When Athens travels down the road to face rival Alexander and start conference play this Friday, it will carry an advantage that could be too much for the Spartans to overcome. 

Athens (2-1, 0-0 Tri-Valley Conference) will have had more time to prepare. 

Alexander— whose game against South Point was rescheduled to Monday, Sept.10 due to bad weather — will be playing its second game in four days; Athens coach Ryan Adams can sympathize with that struggle. 

“I certainly would not want to be in that situation,” Adams said. 

The delay gives Alexander (2-1, 0-0 Tri Valley Conference) three days to prepare for the Bulldogs. Alexander defeated South Point 35-14 on Monday evening. A win over the Bulldogs — which hasn’t happened since 2015 — would be even more impressive, given the circumstances. 

Adams, in a show of good sportsmanship, has tried to make things fair as possible by electing to trade Weeks 1 and 2’s game film with Alexander’s Earich Dean. Usually, the two most recent games are shared, but the decision gave Alexander’s coaching staff the weekend to start preparing for its rival. 

The game that Alexander didn’t get to see was Athens’ battle against Parkersburg South last Friday. Athens held on against the Patriots 26-16 behind four touchdowns from running back Evan Adams.  

Athens will look to get its workhorse running back in a rhythm as early as possible, but its main objective this week is taking care of the football. Three weeks into the year, the Bulldogs have turned the ball over 10 times, a number that concerns Adams. 

“It can hurt you in tight ballgames,” Adams said. “It certainly the last two weeks has not helped our cause.”

Athens’ turnover issue is unlike other teams. When the Bulldogs turn the ball over, it’s a spectacle; interceptions that come from tipped passes at the line of scrimmage are most common. Adams said he’s working with the offensive line on making sure quarterback Clay Davis has a clear lane to his intended receiver. 

“We’ve talked about our tackles doing a better job getting hands down on those little short hop passes,” Adams said. “That’s something we have to improve upon.”

Defensively, Adams would love another solid week from the Bulldogs. Athens’ defense stepped up numerous times against Parkersburg South. Athens forced two turnovers, which resulted in them gaining a lead it never lost. 

Athens and Alexander are rivals on the field, but off the field, they’ll be working together. Together, they have decided to make the game a Turn-it-Gold game. 

Turn-it-Gold is an organization that raises awareness for childhood cancer through events and online storytelling. The organization hopes that fans attending the game will wear Turn-it-Gold t-shirts and other merchandise. Money that will be raised at the game will go toward research for childhood cancer. 


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