The Rematch: Athens, Tri-Valley Ready For Round Two On Friday [Video]

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On Friday night, it will be he rematch everyone in southeast Ohio has been waiting for–the Tri-Valley Scotties and the Athens Bulldogs. Last year, the Bulldogs were able to squeak out a 55-52 overtime victory over the Scotties, also in the second-round of the playoffs.

But this year, the Scotties and the Bulldogs have swapped seeds and, the Scotties are looking for revenge.

Tri-Valley head coach Justin Buttermore said that his main focus this week is to clean up gameplay before worrying about Athens.

“We have to work on ourselves to get better,” he said. “We have to quit turning the ball over. Last year in the first round of the playoffs, we turned it over six times, against Athens we turned it over three times and Friday night we turned it over three times. You can’t turn the ball over many times in the playoffs and expect to win frequently.”

Fortunately for the Scotties, they were able to make it out of the first round both times, despite all of the turnovers, much of which is credited to the defense who has forced 26 turnovers this season. The Scotties tough defense will be put to the test against the dominant Athens offense that has rolled week in and week out so far this season.

The Athens offense averages 62 points per contest, while the Tri-Valley defense gave up an average of 2.4 points in the regular season. The Scotties also have seven shut outs on the season.

Athens head coach, Ryan Adams, said that even though it is a new year, there are still similarities to last year’s matchup.

“Both teams have pretty much everybody back,” he said. “They haven’t changed up what they can do, or like to do, and neither have we. Everybody’s just a little bit faster and a little bit stronger.”

It will be interesting to see how Athens offense fairs against the Tri-Valley defense. Coach Buttermore said it would be tough when facing guys like Joe Burrow and Trae Williams.

“You gotta stop both [Burrow and Williams],” Buttermore said. “They can both beat you. You can’t go into the game and just focus on one because the other one will have 500 yards.”

Buttermore credited Burrow to be the best quarterback in the state, but is also very impressed with Williams’ capability.

“Williams is incredibly underrated,” Buttermore added. “I think he is as good as there is in the state, too. He’s got probably the quickest feet of anybody I have seen or I have coached against.”

Williams has 147 rushing attempts for 1,887 yards and 38 touchdowns. This means that every four rushes for Williams results in a touchdown, on average.

Buttermore attributed Tri-Valley’s worst defensive performance of the year last week, giving up 14 points, to the Scotties inability to contain the quarterback. If they aren’t able to contain Burrow, it will be a long night for the Scotties. Burrow has 3,148 passing yards on the season and 45 touchdowns.

But then again, Tri-Valley’s offense shouldn’t go without fear, either. Brock Fargus has led a successful offense this season and is nearly unstoppable once he gets rolling.

Fargus has thrown for over 2,000 yards, has more than 500 yards on the ground and a combined total of 31 touchdowns. Also, running backs Logan Bash and Bubby Scott have compiled 25 touchdowns.

The Scotties take full advantage of their offensive weapons rotating guys in and out to keep drives alive and the defense on their toes. Fargus has been able to connect with more than 10 different receivers this season.

“There are certain things they like to do that they did last year in terms of trying to grind the ball and keep control of the clock and keep our offense off the field as much as they can,” Adams said. “We have to do a better job at stopping them from getting three, four, five yards and a cloud of dust on each play.”

The game will be held as Zanesville high school and kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. If you are unable to make it to the site, the game will be broadcast live on the Time Warner Cable Sports Channel.

'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!