Updated Wed, Oct 12, 2011 8:28 pm
Long before the first snap under the balmy skies of week one, everyone had these last three weeks circled for the TVC-Ohio.
It was widely believed that Alexander, Athens, and defending conference champion Nelsonville-York could enter this final trifecta of battles with unblemished records.
The anticipation paid off perfectly, almost.
The lone black mark on the combined 20-1 records of the three schools falls to Alexander, who was bested at home last week by an upstart Wellston team.
Many thought the Golden Rockets could be the team to play spoiler to the top-tier squads. They played that part to perfection last week, stunning the Spartans 27-14 and rejuvenating their conference title hopes.
“Player of the Year” candidate Trey Bennett had his worst statistical outing of the season, completing 4 of 12 passes for 40 yards and one interception.
An entire Spartan offense that had posted gaudy numbers in non-conference play mustered a mere 131 yards against Wellston’s stout pressure.
Flip the page to Vinton County, where Athens did what most expected them to.
The Bulldogs danced all over the Vikings’ field on Friday to the tune of a 40-0 drubbing. Athens recovered four of seven forced fumbles, giving their potent offense prime field position to do damage.
The services of Player of the Year candidate Devon Sharp weren’t needed in the second half and the standout tailback rested after amassing 37 yards on 11 carries and two scores.
The often-sporadic play of quarterback Josh Skinner has also improved in recent weeks, which could be a scary site for the Bulldogs’ remaining opponents
This battle comes down to rebound versus revenge. This is a virtual must-win for Alexander to salvage its hopes of a TVC-Ohio title and a playoff berth.
For Athens, who fell in this contest by a mere point last season, the Spartans stand as the first prime blockade towards their ultimate goal.
Should the Spartans not be able to figure out an even tougher Bulldog defense this week, they’ll have to watch their dream of their first TVC-Ohio title go up in smoke.