Game Preview: Athens Host River Valley On Bulldogs Senior Night

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Senior night is the last night seniors are promised to play on their home field, the last night they will be cheered by their home fans and the last night they’ll be under their lights.

The Athens Bulldogs (8-0, 4-0 TVC-Ohio) have 22 players in perhaps the greatest senior class in school history, so even with the playoffs in sight, Friday night’s game against River Valley isn’t being overlooked.

“In the back of our minds, we’ve known this group would come to an end,” Athens head coach Ryan Adams said. “We’ve been trying to live in the present. This is an extraordinary group.”

One senior who has been vital to the Bulldogs this season won’t be playing on Friday night. Quarterback Joe Burrow will be on the bench due to a knee injury he suffered last week against Wellston. Junior Heath Wiseman will be starting in his place.

“When (Wiseman) came in as a freshman he forced us to pay attention to him, he refused to just be a freshman,” Adams said. “He keeps a level head and knows where to get the ball to, he’s an all around really good athlete.”

Wiseman led Athens to an 82-7 win last week after Burrow’s injury in the second quarter.

Whether it’s Wiseman or Burrow at quarterback for Athens, the plan for River Valley doesn’t change.

“As coaches we always have a plan B and a plan C in our head,” River Valley head coach Jerrod Sparling said. “We’ve prepared all week like (Burrow) is going to be in there.”

River Valley (4-4, 1-4 TVC-Ohio) has struggled to score as of late but has new life after picking up its first conference win over Viton County on last week.

“It helps a ton. We went four weeks without a win, it’s been a long month,” Sparling said. “This helps the whole operation. We have a pep in our step coming off a win.”

While senior night is the last night the Bulldogs are guaranteed to be at home, they still have a chance to host a playoff game.  A win this week is vital to achieving home field advantage.

“It’s not hard to focus this week, they know this might be their last game at home,” Adams said. “Most of these guys have been playing together since third grade.”

Kick off is in the Plains at 7:30 p.m.

'Gridiron Glory' airs every Friday night at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB. You can follow the show on Twitter @gridironglory, like the Gridiron Glory page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram @woubsports. You can also join the conversation throughout the season by using the hashtag #GridGlory!