Updated Wed, Oct 19, 2011 8:30 pm
What a difference a week makes for the Wellston Rockets. Last week, fresh off their upset of Alexander, the Rockets were sitting above .500 at 4-3 (1-1) and climbed up to number eight in the Division IV, Region 15 playoffs. The top eight teams make the playoffs and with the tenth seeded Meigs Marauders coming to Wellston, the Rockets were looking to solidify their spot in postseason play.
But disaster struck when star Quarterback/Linebacker Jaylen Prater went down with a serious ankle injury. The Rockets could not overcome the setback and lost 21-12. The lost dropped Wellston to ten in the playoff standings as Meigs leaped them to eight.
As Wellston was struggling with the injury bug, Athens continued to roll in week eight. The Bulldogs dismantled archrival Alexander 40-7. Behind Devon Sharp and Josh Skinner, Athens flew to a huge halftime lead coasting to the win. The win kept Athens at the five seed in the Division III, Region 12 playoff standings.
This week, Athens travels to Wellston to take on the Rockets. The game has all the makings of a trap-game for the Bulldogs. The Rockets will be coming in with their proverbial backs against the wall. With Jaylen Prater down and on the outside looking into the playoffs, expect Wellston to come out with the “Us against the world” mentality.
Athens Head Coach Ryan Adams is not going to allow his players to fall into a lull in week nine. “We have a lot more work to do that we have not achieved. We cannot achieve those goals until week 10. We got to take care of week nine before getting to week 10, and my kids know that.”
With the forecast calling for rain the rest of the week, Athens’ elite speed may be compromised due to the muddy conditions. This is a cause of concern for Adams, “With the rain and Senior Night it’s going to be a tough place to play.”
With a win Athens can solidify their playoff spot as well as look to improve their seeding. A four seed or better would give the Bulldogs home field in the first round of the playoffs. Thus allowing Athens to show their speed on their turf.
Wellston is fighting for their playoff lives, needing a marquee win in able to get back into the top eight in Region 15. A win would catapult them back into the top eight, but a loss would essentially eliminate them from playoff contention.