Updated Thu, Aug 28, 2014 7:47 pm
Twenty-seven years ago, one gallon of gas in the United States cost an average of 90 cents. That was also the last time that the Athens Bulldogs beat Gallia Academy at R. Basil Rutter Field.
In 2012 it seemed as if the drought would finally end, but the Blue Devils and quarterback Wade Jarrell scored 31 points in the second half to give Gallia the 52-34 victory.
That’s all the motivation Athens coach Ryan Adams and his Bulldogs squad need to end the drought this season.
“There will be some talk about the big 27-year run,” Adams said. “13 ball games, 13 home games in a row. We have one opportunity to make a first impression in this first ball game. We need to come out and put our best foot forward and play as solid game as we can.”
The Blue Devils under new leadership again this season, as head coach Josh Riffe takes over for Wade Bartholomew after Bartholomew left Gallia after just one season to take another coaching job. Even though he is new to the job, Riffe is confident his team will be ready to extend their winning streak at Athens.
“We just want to make sure we are playing at our highest level at every snap,” Riffe said. “That’s what we want. We expect to go in and compete and try our hardest and give out best efforts and be around in the fourth quarter.”
Riffe might be new to the Blue Devils, but he is no stranger to Athens’ high-powered offense, and knows slowing senior quarterback Joe Burrow is a difficult task to accomplish.
“I don’t know if there’s a way to stop Joey Burrow and that offense,” Riffe said. “You can’t sit back and be very conservative with them. We have to play aggressive and get after them.”
Burrow might be the most notable Bulldog, but he is not the only weapon Gallia has to worry about, as running back Trae Williams, along with wide receivers Heath Wiseman, and Ryan and Adam Luehrman are the reason it is so difficult to stop the Bulldogs offense.
“There’s a lot more to the team than just Joe,” Adams said. “We have plenty of kids out there that we expect big games from. The entire offense is back from last season and there are a lot of seniors and veterans on this team.”
It’s only week one and there is already much on the line with just this one game. Can the Blue Devils continue their winning ways in Athens? After a lot of offseason hype, how will the Bulldogs perform? Those questions and more will be answered on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Athens.
'Gridiron Glory' airs every Friday night at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB. You can follow the show on Twitter @gridironglory, like the Gridiron Glory page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram @woubsports. You can also join the conversation throughout the season by using the hashtag #GridGlory.