The Labor Day break didn’t stop the work for Athens Academy’s football team. The Spartans were idle on Friday night, but they hit the practice fields all last week in preparation for their second matchup with Stephens County High School.
Trying to keep a group of teenagers focused after not much game activity in the first month of the football season is always a challenge that Athens Academy head coach Josh Alexander has to start the season.
“It’s hard to play and automatically have another two weeks off,” Alexander said. “You’ve just got to do the best you can with it. The main thing is that you’ve got to stay healthy. If you’re beat up a little bit at that time you want to try and get everybody healed up and feeling good going into game week.”
The Spartans have become accustomed to dealing with the staggered start to the regular season they endure each season. Alexander could sense the Spartans’ eagerness to play some football games in the two weeks since their last game action.
“One side of me wishes we never had an off week,” Alexander said. “Our kids have played a lot of football in the last few years. We just want to go play the game and see what happens. They love to compete and it’s fun to watch them compete. You have to practice and do what you’re supposed to be doing but at times you think let’s just go play.”
The Spartans defeated SCHS last season in Toccoa 28-7. Friday SCHS will be coming to Slaughter Field with a bit of revenge on their minds.
Alexander expects a good football team awaiting his team when they run down the hill on Friday night.
“They’re big and physical and they’ve got two really good running backs,” Alexander said. “They play really hard on defense. It’s going to be a tall task for us. They have 100 kids on the football team and it’s going to be a fun game.”
The Spartans and SCHS kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Slaughter Field.