Athens Looks To Keep Winning Streak Against Circleville

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The Athens Bulldogs are set to take on the 6-4 Circleville Tigers for the first game of the Division III, Region 12 playoffs.

After earning the title of TVC-Ohio champions for the second year in a row, the Bulldogs earned home field advantage and Athens head coach, Ryan Adams said his team loves the opportunity for not only the seniors on the team to get another chance to play on their own turf, but also giving the community the opportunity to come out and support them one more time.

After coming off a win against Nelsonville-York, the Bulldogs are just looking to build upon what they have already established during the season.

As far as Athens’ offense goes, the deciding factor will be if they can protect Joey Burrow enough to allow him to see down field and get the reads he needs to make plays.

“We want to be able run our fast pace offense and utilize our wide receivers, Trae [Williams] in the backfield and Joey’s [Burrow] arm and legs, you know, give them a steady mix of all three,” Adams said. “I think a lot of the battle will be played and decided up front where it always is. It’s a matter of whether or not we are going to be able to attack and slow down and stop their running game.”

Circleville is coming off a three-game losing streak, but Athens is not taking them lightly.

There are two offensive players the Bulldog defensive are keeping their eyes on: quarterback, David Burroughs and fullback, Rusty Shull.

 “[Burroughs] is quick, he’s shifty,” Adams said when describing the Tigers quarterback. “And he is tough to bring down; he is a very strong runner. He’s got a real low center of gravity and he runs through an awful lot of arm tackles.”

Shull, who mostly plays fullback along with some time at tailback, is also one of their two inside linebackers. Adams describes him as “a load.”

“[Shull] is a very strong and physical kid,” said Adams. “And up front for Circleville, they’re big. They got a lot of size up in that league and all the teams that we watched them play were big. They got a couple tackles that are in the 200-pound range and it will be a situation to see if we can handle those big boys.”

However, even with their big line, Circleville’s run-prominent offense is nothing Athens hasn’t seen before.

“They are certainly going to bank on their running game, but that doesn’t mean they can’t throw the ball,” Adams said. “There are definitely some similarities with Circleville that we have seen in previous teams, so it’s not completely foreign to us by any means.”

The Bulldogs and the Tigers will kick off on Basil Rutter Field Saturday night at 7 p.m.