Athens coach Ryan Adams said he wasn’t impressed by the way the Bulldogs started their Tri-Valley Conference opener against rival Alexander Friday night.
The Bulldogs started off slow and couldn’t find an offensive rhythm but finished with over 300 yards of total offense and a 50-0 blowout win.
But even with the blowout, Adams felt like the team came out flat.
“My problem and issue with the night is that I felt that we didn’t come out with the kind of energy that we should have come out with in a TVC opener,” Adams said.
The Bulldogs, who usually find a way to dominate on the ground or through the air, couldn’t find a rhythm in the first quarter despite being up 14-0. Athens finally pulled away from Alexander with two minutes left in the first half.
First, running back Evan Adams managed to evade his own linemen, hurdling over a blocker on his way to a 21-yard touchdown. A few plays later, an Alexander fumble landed in the hands of Corbin Stalder, setting up a 40-yard touchdown pass from Clay Davis to Peyton Gail.
The two TDs were 71 seconds apart, giving the Bulldogs the momentum and a 28-0 halftime lead.
Even though Athens never had a consistent offensive weapon, it finally found success with the deep ball. Davis — who went 8-for-16 for 167 yards — threw a 57-yard touchdown to Joey Moore and a 40-yard touchdown to Gail.
“He really had to step up and make big plays,” Adams said. “He made enough plays to separate the game and put it out of reach.”
After Evan Adams scored his second touchdown of the night in the third quarter, the running game clock rule was in effect and the win was secured.
“It felt good to put the running clock on Alexander,” junior wide receiver Nate Trainer said.
The win moved Athens to 3-1 on the year and 1-0 in the TVC. It also was Athens third-consecutive win over the Spartans. The Bulldogs have dominated the rivalry, winning 15 of the last 18 meetings.
Athens will welcome Vinton County (2-2 ,0-1 Tri-Valley Conference) next week. Adams hopes to see more improvement as the Bulldogs march toward its first conference championship since 2014.
“I don’t feel that we have put together four quarters of our best football,” Adams said. “It's a difficult thing to do with high school kids, but with the kind of senior leadership we have and the number of seniors we have on this football team, it’s something that I’m expecting them to do and show sometime very soon.”