Athens Seeks Homecoming Win to Add to Strong Season
Win against West Bloomfield tonight could give the Red Hawks a shot at playoff berth.
Troy Athens High School’s football team will have a lot on the line tonight, when the Red Hawks host Oakland Activities Association Red Division foe West Bloomfield for homecoming.
Athens (4-1, 3-1 OAA Red) will enter Friday night’s game in second place in the Red, trailing only Lake Orion in the standings. A win against West Bloomfield (2-3, 2-2 OAA Red) would give the Red Hawks five wins on the season, matching the team’s win total of the last two seasons combined and leaving the team one win shy of clinching its first playoff berth since 2001.
Before Athens starts thinking about possibly making a run at the playoffs, the team will need to get past a West Bloomfield team that is capable of pulling an upset. Athens coach Josh Heppner said his team is not looking past the Lakers, who have playmakers on both sides of the ball.
“We have to contain their speed,” Heppner said. “They have a lot of speed, a lot of talent and they have nothing to lose. They know they’re our homecoming game, so they’re going to hype that up.”
One key against the Lakers will be the play of the Athens defense. Two weeks ago, the Red Hawks shut out Royal Oak and last week the team forced eight turnovers in a win at Rochester.
Even though Athens won 21-13 at Rochester, Heppner said he wasn’t completely satisfied with the team’s performance. He said the team will need to cut down on its own mistakes after the Red Hawks were flagged 12 times in last week’s win.
“Offensively, we executed, we just couldn’t get rid of stupid penalties,” Heppner said. “We had 105 yards in penalties, which is unacceptable. We can’t have anything like that.”
Heppner said the team has worked on fixing some of those issues in practice this week.
“We’ve simplified some things, and we had to adjust different blocking assignments because of what Rochester threw at us defensively,” Heppner said. “We’re ready to go.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.