Alexander’s Stout Defense to Face Challenge in Athens

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It’s Athens week.

“It is definitely going to be a little more special,” Alexander head coach Alex Penrod said. “Our goal is to win a conference championship, and this is step one.”

Alexander (2-1) and Athens (1-2) came into the season as title contenders and Friday’s game could set the tone for the rest of the season.

For Athens, momentum is finally on its side after starting the season 0-2, good for its worst start since 2010. The Bulldogs were clicking on all cylinders during their 53-0 rout of Warren when junior quarterback Brendan Sano finished with 153 passing yards and four touchdowns.

With the exception of its week two loss to Zanesville, Athens’s offense has looked like a well-oiled machine. Zacciah Saltzman is averaging a whopping 8.6 yards per carry and the Bulldogs have twice scored at least 49 points.

It should make for an intriguing battle against an Alexander defense which is allowing only 15.3 points per contest.

Stout defense is a focal point of Penrod’s system and the unit’s mission will be to make Athens as one dimensional as possible. Which dimension Alexander focuses on deterring will be determined Friday, but Penrod knows Athens’s roster is choc-full of talent.

Penrod also knows motivation is not in short supply, especially after last year’s 55-9 loss to Athens.

“This senior class has never beaten Athens on the football field, so that in itself is motivation,” Penrod said.

Motivation, however, doesn’t win football games. Taking care of the ball does.

“We have the confidence and the belief,” Penrod said. “But it is going to come down to who can minimize their mistakes.”