Athens Looks to Build on Strong Start
Red Hawks would eclipse last year’s win total with a victory tonight against Rochester.
A week after a dominant performance at home, the Troy Athens High School football team will look to build on its best start under third-year coach Josh Heppner, as the Red Hawks travel to face Rochester Friday night.
In last week’s game, Athens jumped out to an early lead on the Royal Oak High School Ravens and didn’t let up en route to a 56-0 win. The lopsided score gave Heppner the luxury of giving playing time to the backups and younger players on the team.
“You never know when a (starter) is going to go down, they have an injury that puts them out for a game or two, and you have to have (the backups) prepared” Heppner said. “We do a pretty good job in practice trying to get these guys ready, but game tempo and game speed speaks for itself. It was nice to get those guys in there.”
The win over Royal Oak gave Athens a 3-1 record overall, and a 2-1 mark within the Oakland Activities Association’s Red Division. The Red Hawks won three games in 2010 and two in 2009, which were Heppner’s first two years with the team.
In order to improve to 4-1, however, Athens will need to get by a Rochester team that defeated the Red Hawks by three touchdowns last season on its way to a playoff appearance. Despite entering this year’s game with a 1-3 record, Rochester still boasts talent on both sides of the ball.
“Rochester has some key players that we’re concerned with, but we’re going to try and make sure we keep the ball away from them and out of their hands,” Heppner said.
In order to keep the ball away from Rochester’s playmakers, Athens will need another strong performance from its running game. Last week against the Ravens, Athens rushed for 388 yards as a team despite being without key rusher Kris Gervin, who did not play due to injury.
In preparation for this week’s game, Heppner said the Red Hawks have been continuing to focus on playing strong fundamentally.
“We’re making sure that we’re doing our assignments and doing what we’re supposed to do,” Heppner said. “I strongly feel that if we execute the way we should, teams are going to have a tough time trying to stop us.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rochester High School.