Athens Football Looks for Another Win to Add to Strong Season
The Red Hawks will be hoping to improve their record to 3-0 tonight as meet on the field against Clarkston.
The Troy Athens football team hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2006, but this year’s group of Red Hawks is giving its fans plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
Under third-year coach Josh Heppner, the Red Hawks are off to a 2-0 start following wins over Warren Mott and Pontiac.
However, for the Red Hawks to improve to 3-0 this Friday, they will need to get past a solid Clarkston team that is also undefeated and considered to be one of the top teams in the Oakland Activities Association.
Following the Pontiac game, Heppner said the team will have to continue to work hard and execute as it did in its first two games if it hopes to beat the Wolves.
“We’ve come out and worked hard on a lot of stuff in the offseason and taken a new mentality,” Heppner said. “When the chips are down, the main thing with us and the coaching staff is we can’t get too high or too low. We have to maintain and do what we have to do to stay on track.”
The key to success so far for the Red Hawks so far has been their running game. Against Pontiac, seniors Kris Gervin and Lonnie Bolden combined for more than 200 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.
That duo will need to have similar success against a Clarkston defense that is led by linebackers Matt Dellinger, a Kent State commitment, and Zach Collins.
Defensively, the Red Hawks have a lot of talent of their own, including lineman Brenden Terry and linebackers Matt Fitzpatrick and Lonnie Jaynes, a Rochester Adams transfer.
Against Pontiac, Athens forced four turnovers and stopped the Phoenix on several fourth-down attempts late in the game. Linebacker Ivan Kharchenko had a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown, and safety Sam Haskell sealed the game with another pick with less than three minutes remaining.
For Athens to win, it will need another solid defensive performance, and to continue its physical play, which is something that Heppner has stressed during the first two weeks of the season.
“We’re a smash-mouth football team, and we’re 2-0 heading into Clarkston,” Heppner said. “We’ll see where we go from there.”
Friday’s game will be played at Clarkston, with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.