The Athens Academy Spartans improved to 3-0 with their 68-14 win over the Berkmar High School Patriots last Friday night. Senior Palmer Bush completed 10 of his 11 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns before halftime. He would be replaced by his younger brother Sam Bush in the second half.
“They’re both really good players and Sam does really good things and Palmer just has great leadership and he’s a great athlete,” Athens Academy head coach Josh Alexander said. “We’re really lucky to have both of them, and they’re growing every day to get better.”
Sophomore Sam Bush scored two touchdowns for the Spartans. His only pass attempt was a 43-yard touchdown and Bush ran four times for 50 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown run.
Running back Giovanni Newsome earned his workload in the second half and the sophomore collected 83 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries.
“We just always want to try to grow them up and let them get varsity experience,” Alexander said about his younger players. “They work hard and deserve to play. We wanted to play our younger guys and the fun part is watching the older guys cheer for the young guns.”
The Spartans scored four touchdowns in the first quarter. Palmer Bush scored the first with a goal line quarterback sneak after senior Clark O’Neil intercepted a pass on the second play of the game. On Berkmar’s next possession, senior Reid Bangle recovered a fumble that set up an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior Ethan Connelly.
The Spartans failed to convert a 2-point conversion after their first touchdown, but Bush found Notre Dame commit Deion Colzie after Connelly’s touchdown for an easy grab to make the score 14-0.
Colzie also caught the next touchdown thrown by Bush.
With his back turned and with one hand, Colzie delivered on a 36-yard strike.
Colzie continued to make an impact despite not catching another pass. On the following drive, Colzie made a nice block that allowed senior Charlie Chisolm room to make a 27-yard rush.
Chisolm scored a touchdown from 16 yards out on the next play, adding tasty icing onto his birthday cake.
Palmer Bush ran his second rushing touchdown from two yards out in the second quarter, and junior Wally Terrell added more two rushing touchdowns in the last four minutes of the half. The Spartans led 54-0 going into the locker room.
The Spartans defense registered six sacks, led by junior tackle Johnerio Holt with two.
“It was really a team effort. Everyone working together to do their best and we obviously did that,” Palmer Bush said about the win. Watching from the sideline in the second half, Bush and other seniors encouraged bench players to wear masks and spread out. “Coach told us to make sure we are having our mask on, because we’ve got to protect each other more than anything else.”
Berkmar’s quarterback Jermahri Hill made most of his yards in the game scrambling out of the pocket, but the junior had two passing touchdowns in the final quarter, one for 36 yards and one for 49 yards. The Patriots attempted an onside kick after their first touchdown, but they did not convert.
This Friday, the Spartans will travel for a non-conference game against Providence Christian Academy. The Storm is 0-3 and most recently lost 0-73 to the Prince Avenue Christian Wolverines. Providence will look to get their first win of the season while the Spartans look to stay undefeated.