Slaughter Field. Appropriately named.
Not much else can really be said about the beating put on by unbeaten Athens Academy on cross-town rival Athens Christian. The Spartans (7-0, 4-0) led 50-0 at halftime, held the Eagles (2-5, 0-4) to less than 100 yards of offense and won their homecoming game 50-7.
“We were proud of everybody,” Spartans coach Josh Alexander said. “From our young guys to our starters, everybody did a good job.”
That’s win No. 4 in a row for the Spartans over Athens Christian.
The Spartans’ first two drives were just three and two plays, respectively. both ended in touchdowns. All of their drives in the first half started inside Eagle territory and all of them resulted in touchdowns.
Athens Academy crowned a homecoming queen, too. So that added some tension, too, as the crowd waited to see who would be crowned this year’s queen. The homecoming court received the loudest ovation of the night.
You read that right.
Louder than on Len’Neth Whitehead’s four-yard score on his third carry of the game. Louder than on Palmer Bush’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Barrett McClanahan on the second play of the Spartans’ second drive. And on Payton Bowles’ 24-yard touchdown run.
And on Whitehead’s second touchdown run. And on Bush’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Deion Colzie.
That first-half onslaught shell-shocked the rebuilding Eagles.
“You try to (regroup) at halftime,” Eagles coach Chris Williams said. “We know they’ve got a great football team. But you try to find a spot where you can hit the pause button and go ‘stop, slow down, and let’s play football.’”
Athens Academy played predominantly second-and-third-stringers in the second half, and the game featured a running clock after halftime. Whitehead didn’t play the second half, and registered just four touches in the first half. Two of those went for scores, so the junior couldn’t be too upset.
For a player who serves as the focal point of the Spartan offense, the rest was surely a welcome one.
“We were most excited about our young kids,” Alexander said. “It was just fun watching those guys play. We were wanting them to get that goal-line stand at the end.”
The Spartans failed to score out of the half, the first drive all night the Spartans' offense hadn’t found the end zone to conclude a drive.
But the majority of offensive issues came from Athens Christian. The Spartans managed two red zone trips, but managed only seven points from them, including a missed field goal. But it’s all part of the process for Williams’ team, and the coach knows his team remains a work in progress.
It’s most evident on offense, though. The Eagles have been outscored 180-25 in their last four outings.
“There’s always a change, a transition,” Williams said. “We’re trying to get those young guys to slide into those roles. So, it’s tough. It’s tough to fight through some of that, and the inconsistencies.”
They get another chance to turn their offensive woes around, though, next week, against George Walton.
Athens Academy, meanwhile, travels to Providence Christian looking to notch yet another convincing region win. At this point, the region crown is surely the Spartans to lose with three regular season games remaining, including a region crossover.