The Bulldogs haven’t won an SEOAL championship since 1990, and in fact, they haven’t even finished higher than fourth in the league standings in that span.
It doesn’t appear that things are going to turn around right away when the Bulldogs move to the Tri-Valley Conference for the start of the 2008-2009 school year either, but the good news in Bulldog country is the hire of Ryan Adams as head coach. Adams, a two-time MVP of the SEOAL in 1988 and 1989, will take over for Corey Miller who resigned after a three-year stint in which the Bulldogs finished 5-25 overall and 1-16 in SEOAL play.
Adams inherits a team that returns 12 starters (six on offense and defense), including three defensive linemen and an entire stable of running backs. The biggest casualties from graduation were three-year starters Chris Carpinelli (QB) and Jake Anderson (WR/DB) and linemen Shawn Tignor and Neil Platt.
Adams will likely move the Bulldogs away from the Wing-T offense that Miller ran and move toward more of a Pro-I base offense. Junior tailback Cameron Tope averaged over 6 yards per carry before being injured late in the 2006 season and fullback Jared Riley averaged over 5 yards per carry. The duo will give the Bulldogs a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield.
Steven Eberts (6-0, 210) is a sure-handed tight end and Zach Strickmaker caught 28 passes in 2006 from his split end spot. Both should provide solid targets for junior Zane Summers who is the leader in the race to replace Carpinelli at quarterback.
Defensively, the Bulldogs plan to stick with a 50-scheme but must improve after allowing 45 points per game last fall. The Bulldogs, who allowed at least 30 points in nine of their 10 games in 2006, gave up a season high 69 to Jackson and at least 50 points three other times.
Three defensive linemen return up front where Eberts (DE) and noseguard Ibriham Alassaf (5-8, 180) will act as anchors. Junior Bo Ipacs (5-11, 205) returns to the field after a knee injury last fall and will play the opposite end while Tre Wallace (6-1, 235) returns at defensive tackle.
Riley returns at linebacker and Tope will play monster back for the Bulldogs. Strickmaker and Mitch Crabtree are returning starters at cornerback.
The Bulldogs begin the 2007 on August 24 at Nelsonville-York in the annual battle for the Doc Kroner Trophy. The two teams have met during the first week of the season since the late 1970s but will move the contest to a later date in the season when both become members of the TVC-Ohio Division in 2008.
Athens will play its final SEOAL game against Gallipolis on October 26.
|9/7/2007||@ Albany Alexander||4|
|10/26/2007||Gallipolis Gallia Academy||5|