Athens Survives Logan Elm, Advances

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A chill moved through Basil Rutter Field on Friday.

Not only did the Bulldogs see freezing temperatures during the game, but they also were heavily contested in their 74-55 win over the Logan Elm Braves in the first round of Division 3 playoffs. 

The offensive rush came down to the wire and midway through the third quarter the Braves seemed to steal all the momentum after a couple key Athens fumbles. Logan Elm scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to reduce the deficit to 5 points.

But Trae Williams stole the momentum right back.

The junior Gridiron Glory Player of the Year finalist ran in a 13-yard score to put Athens up 54-42 late in the third. He then started the fourth by taking a short pass 63 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs back up by three scores.

Logan Elm refused to let up, however, and came back up the field on the legs of their own Corey Heeter. The Braves pushed the ball forward to reduce the Athens lead to 61-48.

Logan Elm followed with a successful onside kick, but the Braves could not produce on the ensuing drive. Williams found the end zone for the final time a possession later, alleviating Athens’ first round scare.

Williams and Heeter traded touchdowns in ping-pong-like fashion from start to finish.

Heeter scorched the Bulldogs with 179 yards and seven scores, and Williams matched him with seven touchdowns of his own. Williams has now found the end zone 56 times in his career.

Athens’ other Gridiron Glory Player of the Year finalist, junior quarterback Joe Burrow, garnered 528 all-purpose yards.

Friday’s contest in The Plains began just as interestingly as it ended.

After Williams’ first touchdown early in the game, Heeter fired down the gridiron on the kickoff return down to the Athens 3. He punched it in from there to put the Braves ahead 7-6. Following the Braves’ touchdown, Williams responded on the next kickoff taking the ball 83-yards to the house. 

The early duel between the two talented running backs proved prophetic of the conclusion to an epic battle. The Green and Gold racked up 670 yards on offense     

Athens moves on to the regional semifinals to take on Tri-Valley next Friday.