Athens coach Zac Harrell knows this week’s contest against the Lindale Eagles will present challenges.
The Hornets (4-2 overall, 0-2 in District 9-4A, Division I play) are 31-point underdogs according to the Harris Ratings Poll.
This is the first game back after last week’s open week.
“It was good and we needed it,” Harrell said. “We needed to get some guys healthy and recharge our batteries and refuel.”
Lindale is 5-2 overall and 3-0 in district play under coach Chris Cochran.
“They are a complete football team. Coach Cochran has done a tremendous job and has really brought that program to as good of football as they have played in a really long time,” Harrell said. “You have to give him and his staff a lot of credit. Those kids are playing really hard and believing in them.”
Offensively, the Eagles bring in the Built Ford Tough Player of the Week for Class 4A in senior running back Jordan Jenkins.
Jenkins has rushed for 1,014 yards and 14 touchdowns so far this season following a 285 yard and four TD performance against Chapel Hill last week.
“Offensively, it starts with Jordan Jenkins and he is as good of a high school running back as you will see,” Harrell said. “He runs very hard and is very physical and very seldom does the first contact bring him down.”
He said quarterback Sam Peterson is tall at 6-3, 6-4 and does a great job running their offense. He top receiver is junior Jacob Seekford.
Defensively, the Eagles have held Chapel Hill and Henderson under 10 points. Mabank scored 21 points in the opener in a 62-21 loss.
“They struggled early on defensively, but in the first three district games they are shutting everybody down,” Harrell said. “They are playing really good defense and running to the ball. Their safeties are really good players and Airik Williams and the linebackers Colton Widemon and Jaymond Jackson are very talented.”
Harrell said his keys to victory against the Eagles are making sure they follow the basics.
“With a running back like this, we have got to tackle and wrap up Jenkins,” Harrell said. “We have to swarm him and make sure we are getting all of our hats to the ball. We have to make sure we are not busting assignments up front, we can’t turn over the ball against a team like this and we have to do a better job on winning third downs. Finally, we need to make a game changing play on special teams.”
NOTE: For the Sideline Review, check out the Tuesday printed edition of the Athens Daily Review.