Athens Academy wins ‘weird night’ on Friday the 13th in weather-shortened game - ABH
It was Friday the 13th. It was a full moon. It was supposed to be a clear night.
Then the lightning struck in the area. Then the rain came. Then the game was over.
The Athens Academy Spartans hosted Cherokee Bluff and played 8:33 of the first quarter before the game was delayed by lightning. The Spartans had a 13-0 lead at the time. After a delay of an hour and 17 minutes, the game was called and it goes in the books as a 13-0 win for the Spartans.
“I am a firm believer in a full moon. Weird things happen. It is what it is,” said head coach Josh Alexander. “We did some good things. We really didn’t get a chance to get going. We returned a kick and had a long run but then we threw the ball for a touchdown. It was one of those things. Just a weird night all together.
“We had a bunch of weird penalties. Just weird. We need to go start over again.”
In the time of game they did play, Kurt Knisely had a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown to get the Spartans on the board 3:03 into the game.
One play after an interception by Trey Willis, Knisely had a 38-yard gain to help set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Palmer Bush to Deion Colzie with 6:46 left.
″[Knisely] is playing really well right now,” Alexander said. “From his leadership on the team to the way he is playing and his toughness, he has played four years and never missed a game, everything he does is right. I told the team if you want to grab onto somebody’s cape, grab onto Kurt Knisely’s cape because everything he is doing right now is exactly how we want to be as a football team.”
The Spartans will have their second bye week of the season on September 20. Their first bye week was August 30. They are back on the field September 30 at home against Towns County.
Their showdown with Prince Avenue Christian is October 4.
“In the past coming off this interim week because we don’t practice, it hasn’t always been the best football that we have played all year,” Alexander said. “We want to try and fix that and play good football.”
PHOTOS: Athens Academy vs. Cherokee Bluff football - ABH
Athens Academy hosted Cherokee Bluff on Friday, September 13, 2019. The Spartans had a 13-0 lead when the game was called in the first quarter because of inclement weather. Click [HERE] to view photos from the Athens Banner-Herald.
Very superstitious; Spartans earn weird, shortened win - Oconee Enterprise
Something weird was bound to happen. It was a Friday the 13th and weird is the only way a Friday the 13th could go.
Athens Academy’s (3-0) 13-0 victory over Cherokee Bluff (1-3) could be considered the quickest (and weirdest) win in the history of Slaughter Field.
The game lasted a total of 6 minutes and 47 seconds. A lot happened in the Spartans’ favor in that time. Kurt Knisely returned a punt 61 yards for a score. Trey Willis snagged an interception that set up a 40-yard run by Knisely that left the Spartans on the doorstep of another score.
Palmer Bush hit Deion Colzie for a 3-yard touchdown and before the extra point was blocked.
The skies darkened off to the northwest of Slaughter and play was stopped as lightning had been detected in the area.
After about two hours of waiting around and watching the Slaughter Field grass turn into a swamp and some brilliant displays of lighting in the close proximity of the stadium the decision was made to declare the Spartans the winners.
Athens Academy head coach Josh Alexander isn’t much of a believer in the supernatural workings of the Friday the 13th, but the oddities of Friday night even raised his eyebrows a tad.
“I don’t believe in Friday the 13th other than when the moon is right you catch a lot of fish and when the moon is right people get weird, but that’s sort of what happened tonight,” Alexander said with a laugh. “This was a weird night. It hadn’t rained in 87,422 days and all of a sudden it’s pouring down rain. I don’t know what’s going on.”
The Spartans have almost become accustomed to the weirdness of the start of their football season. Friday the 13th has could almost be applied to their entire first quarter of the season. Of any team in area, the Spartans have had the quirkiest of starts among them.
The Spartans immediately had a week off after their scrimmage game. They traveled to Savannah where they faced Savannah Christian School before another week off. They returned last week for a game against Stephens County High School and just when they thought they’d created some rhythm to the season, they get another defacto week off with the abbreviated victory on Friday.
The Spartans just want to play football. Early on, that’s been the biggest challenge to the 2019 edition of Athens Academy’s football program.
“It’s been crazy the last few weeks, it’s like everything is stacked against the game of football,” Alexander said. “The weather, the (wet) bulb, just everything that can go wrong of trying to practice, the contact rules, the heat sends us inside. We just want some cooler weather and seven straight football games. That’s all we want. We just want to play football.”
There won’t be any football played by the Spartans this week as the school takes its interim week adding yet another bye week to the unusually fresh Spartans.
There are a few things that Alexander was able to see from the short time the Spartans were on the field on Friday. Knisely’s performance stuck out to Alexander. Knisely has been one of the Spartans’ hottest players to start the 2019 season and he kept his roll going on Friday.
Knisely touched the football twice and collected 101 yards and a touchdown. He carried the ball once for 40 yards.
“What’s been fun is watching Kurt Knisely, he’s just really become the player that we all want to be,” Alexander said. “He’s sort of can’t go wrong right now. He’s tough and he’s a four-year starter. His leadership is great. He’s the man right now.”
Georgia fills up MaxPreps' small-school rankings; Athens Academy checks in at #20 - MaxPreps
Georgia fills up MaxPreps' small-school rankings
Eight Georgia teams are in the top 25 of MaxPreps' Small Schools National Rakings this week. They are No. 3 Peach County, No. 4 Cedar Grove, No. 9 Irwin County, No. 14 Eagle's Landing Christian, No. 16 Clinch County, No. 17 Hapeville Charter, No. 20 Athens Academy and No. 25 Dublin.
Kevin Askeland compiles the top 25. It's based on MaxPreps' computer rankings, which crunch scores nationwide, and there's enough interplay to suggest that Georgia is a pretty good football state. Cedar Grove, for example, beat Colorado's No. 1 team, Valor Christian, last week and earlier took a top-25 national team, Central of Phenix City, Ala., to the brink.
Askeland defines a small school as one that plays in an enrollment classification of about 1,000 students or fewer. That eliminates schools such as Marist that have enrollment of less than 1,000 but play in classes that call for higher enrollment. Marist, which has fewer students than Peach County, would be in the top-10 of Askeland's list were the War Eagles to play in Georgia's Class AAA.
Askeland said he wasn't sure what to make of Georgia's abundant presence in the top 25.
"It seems to me that there is quite a bit of interplay among the AAA schools and the larger enrollment divisions in the state [i.e., Peach County has beaten Lee County and Northside of Warner Robins this season], so I think that helps boost their ratings," Askeland said. "Eventually, when all of those Georgia teams beat each other, some will fall out and unbeaten teams from other areas will move in. However, it's a good start to the season for Georgia most definitely."
Listen: Best of Preps Podcast (w/ Coach Alexander) - ABH
The Best of Preps Podcast and Grady Sports Media cover the Athens area’s high school teams with a weekly podcast. This week we have Athletes of the Week Ellie Alfonso and Alex Thomas, coach Josh Alexander of Athens Academy and a special player spotlight. Click [HERE] to listen.
The Athens Academy Spartans defeated the Stephens County Indians 49-19 on Friday night at Slaughter Field.
Athens Academy came out early in the game and set the tone all night long. They jumped out to a 28-0 with 8:26 remaining in the first half. Half of those points came off a Palmer Bush-Deion Colzie connection that was working efficiently.
“We were excited coming into the game,” Athens Academy head coach Josh Alexander. “Our kids were prepared with a good week of practice and we played good football.”
The first touchdown score came less than two minutes into the game when Bush found Colzie wide open for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Then, Bush found Colzie again less than two minutes later for a 37-yard touchdown pass.
Bush ended the first half 4-for-5 passing for 109 yards with 2 passing touchdowns. Colzie recorded with those two touchdowns alone, a total of 68 receiving yards.
Colzie was all over the field Friday night, too. On the Indians’ third possession of the game, Colzie intercepted Stephens County’s quarterback and returned it 15 yards for the turnover.
Alexander highlighted the growth he’s seen from his junior quarterback compared to last season.
“He’s more mature and comfortable back in the pocket,” Alexander said. “All of it comes with age.”
Special teams made a huge play in this game, too. Following the Colzie interception, the Spartans went three-and-out and setup to punt the ball away. On the punt, the Indians’ returner muffed it, a host of Spartans fell on the ball and recovered it on the Indians’ 5-yard line. On the very next play, the 3-star linebacker Len’Neth Whitehead scampered in for a rushing touchdown, which extended the lead, 21-0.
The Indians’ defense seemed to shift their focus on Colzie and Whitehead for the remainder of the first half, which opened an opportunity for Kurt Knisely.
For more on this story, see the Sept. 12 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, go to oconeeenterprise.com or call (706) 769-5175.
Athens Academy annually fields a competitive football team which typically advances to the state playoffs. The program focuses on individual skill development within a team environment. An emphasis is placed on team building through cooperation, discipline, and personal growth. A knowledgeable coaching staff provides athletes with a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental and schematic components of football.