Athens is two weeks into the 2018 season, and with a 1-1 record, it's shown some good and some bad. Here are The Post’s observations of the Bulldogs after week two.
1. They have plenty of depth on offense.
The Bulldogs boast a variety of depth at every offensive position. Senior quarterback Clay Davis leads a talented backfield that features Nicholas Hawes, Corbin Stalder and Evan Adams. Adams rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of the Bulldogs’ 51-26 win over Warren in Week 1.
Logan Maxfield, Nate Trainer and Peyton Gail make up a versatile receiving core. Gail played a big role in the Athens offensive attack at Fairland, hauling in 10 catches for 122 yards in the loss. Joey Moore adds energy and flair to an already entertaining Bulldog rushing and passing game.
Outside of the skill positions, the Bulldogs are also deep up front. Coach Ryan Adams has a cast of players he can rotate in and out on the line, giving the Bulldogs an edge against opposing defenses.
2. The secondary is athletic but inexperienced.
The Bulldogs may have the most athletic secondary in the Tri-Valley Conference. This year they’ve recorded three interceptions and were in position to have a few more. Moore, Maxfield and Trainer play both ways, and the unit is deep. While their athleticism can create playmaking on both sides of the ball, their youth at times causes coverage busts, miscommunication and growing pains.
Last week, the Bulldogs gave up 272 yards and four touchdowns. They had trouble picking up crossing routes and vertical routes up the middle of the field —the type of routes that require communication between the safety and the cornerback. Coach Adams was able to make adjustments at the half to stop some of what Fairland was doing, but the Bulldogs still struggled to stay with their man when the pressure wasn’t there.
As the season continues, the unit will mature and be able to handle the different formations it will see. They won’t face a quarterback as good as Fairland quarterback Joel Lambiotte and will probably not see a wide receiver corp that is as deep.
3. Discipline is key.
Penalties are one of the most frustrating reasons to lose a ballgame, and Athens found that out in Week 2. It had 13 penalties against Fairland, which cost Athens 135 yards and, ultimately, the game. In Week 1, Athens only had three penalties and won 51-26. Athens can produce long offensive drives and defensive three-and-outs — as long as it avoids penalties.
4. The Deep Ball isn’t there yet.
Clay Davis has a big arm. Unfortunately for him, it hasn’t produced some of the results he’s hoped for yet. Davis has a trio of athletic receivers he can throw to. Maxfield, Gail and Trainer all know how to get open and make catches in traffic, but they have struggled stretching the field vertically.
Against Fairland, Athens was successful on slants, hitches and out routes, but when Davis attempted the deep ball, it either was just out of reach or ended in the hands of the defender.