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Athen's Evan Adams, throws up a stiff arm while completing a run against the Parkersburg South Patriots. Adams had a career night with four touchdowns as the Bulldogs won 26-16 over the Patriots.

Athens Football: Fairland loss is a motivating factor for Bulldogs going forward

A week following a stunning loss on the road to Fairland, Athens bounced back on Friday for a 26-16 victory against Parkersburg South at R. Basil Rutter Field.

The Bulldog players and coaching staff knew the impact the loss to Fairland had on their playoff hopes. Facing adversity over the last week, the Bulldogs responded well in their first game since the defeat. 

“We’ve been thinking about last week all week,” Gauge Penrod said following the win against Parkersburg South. “That was part of the reason why we were so motivated to come out here tonight.”

The Bulldog senior class took accountability for the Fairland loss and met up on their own time last week to watch the film.

“We all got together as a senior class and went to one of our buddy’s houses,” Penrod said. "We watched film and watched film, and we just thought to ourselves and told ourselves that we’re better than this.”

After a rocky first half on Friday, Athens coach Ryan Adams took some time during halftime to remind the Bulldogs of what the consequences of mistakes and missed opportunities led to the week prior. 

“We talked about in there how we’ve got to put teams away,” Adams said. “I think we had opportunities in the first half to really extend our lead and we didn’t take advantage of that. Similar thing last week at Fairland.”

Athens let Fairland hang around two weeks ago, resulting in a Fairland touchdown to seal the game with 38 seconds remaining. 

“Anytime you allow a well-coached and hard-nosed team to stay with you, bad things can happen — like last week,” coach Adams said after the game. “I reminded them of that in the locker room and I think our kids came out (in the second half) and certainly did everything that they could to not be denied.”

With a 2-1 record, the Bulldogs currently sit in 10th in the Division III Region 11 standings. As of now, there are five teams in the region still without a loss, occupying spots one through five in the standings.

The true impact of the loss to the Fairland remains to be seen.What is evident, though, is Athens does not plan on forgetting about the loss anytime soon. 

The Bulldogs realize the room for error moving forward is small. The focus now shifts to Tri-Valley Conference play as the Bulldogs begin with Alexander on Friday.

“I think we really want to win (conference) this year,” Evan Adams said. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time and make sure we win every single one.” 


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