The Bulldogs will face back-to-back conference opponents this weekend. They will take on the Vikings at home on Friday and then travel to River Valley to take on the Crusaders.
Opponent: Vinton County (11-5, 6-1 Tri-Valley Conference)
Location: Athens High School
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Opponent: River Valley (2-11, 1-4 TVC)
Location: River Valley High School
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Athens will return home after two consecutive losses on the road, the most recent being an overtime loss to Wellston. Although Athens is 0-6 on the road, it performs well at home. Athens has a 3-3 record at home and a chance to improve upon that against Vinton County.
“It’ll be good to be home,” Athens coach Mickey Cozart said. “(Our student section) will be lively on Friday and give us some good energy.”
The game will be the Bulldogs’ second against the Vikings this season. Their first meeting led to a 55-36 Vikings victory in late December. Since then, Vinton County has maintained an 11-5 record and has jumped to first in the TVC.
Athens has just three wins on the season with seven total games left to play, making it impossible to secure a winning record. Vinton County on the other hand already has a winning record.
However, of those seven games, six of them are conference matchups. Even though Athens holds a 2-4 conference record, its remaining schedule gives it the potential to turn the tides. It could climb the conference rankings, beginning with the Vinton County matchup.
“I don’t have to tell my team anything to be motivated,” Cozart said. “We’ll play betting on Friday night. We’ll be ready to play.”
Following Friday’s game, Athens will be back on the road Saturday to play their first day game of the season. Athens will face off against River Valley, who is ranked below Athens in the conference standings with a record of 2-11.
The game at River Valley provides the Bulldogs with the opportunity to secure their first victory on the road. It will be the first time these two have met this season, and it is a must-win situation for Athens. River Valley is Athens’ weakest opponent of its remaining schedule in terms of overall record.
A win could springboard the Bulldogs final half of conference play. It gives them one last chance to salvage their season and make a mark on the TVC.