Russellville rally gives Athens home loss
Golden Eagles kept off scoreboard in the second half
By Ashley Hargrove
ATHENS — Athens High’s football team knows all about peaking in the second half of the season.
After all, the Golden Eagles rallied strong last year on their way to a Class 5A state championship.
They’re down again and can use a good late-season rally. The latest loss was a heartbreaker — a 14-10 home loss to Russellville, which is unbeaten and ranked No. 2 in 5A.
“We’ve been down before,” Athens coach Allen Creasy said. “We’ve just got to get better one week at a time and try and be a better team next week than we were this week, and things will take care of themselves.”
Athens led 10-7 at halftime, but Russellville went ahead for good with a fourth-quarter touchdown.
A 42-yard field goal by Brian Brown with 8:28 left in the first quarter got the momentum going for the Golden Eagles. Quarterback Todd Pepper connected with Chad Stinnett late in the second half with 1:29 to play before the half on a 76-yard pass. Brown’s extra point made it 10-0.
But Russellville’s offense seemed to get things going shortly before going into the locker room, scoring on a 4-yard pass from Cory Trapp to Hunter Jackson with 11 seconds remaining, pulling the game to a three-point margin.
“We worked hard — we just lost focus,” Creasy said. “We made some mental errors trying to make somebody else’s plays. It wasn’t a lack of effort. Our guys fought hard and tried to win. We played a good team and didn’t execute well at some points and didn’t finish the game like we needed to from an execution stand point.”
The Golden Tigers managed to seal the win in the final minutes of the game with 3:12 left on the clock on a Scotty Freeman 1-yard run.
“We have improved every week and continue to do that,” Creasy said.
“That’s something we have to continue to do. We can’t stop. We can’t give up. We’ve got to keep working.”
The Golden Eagles’ last victory against Russellville came in 2000, when they beat the Golden Tigers on their home field.
Athens finished with 184 total yards of offense on the night.
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