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Lions hang tough, fall to Athens Academy 21-6
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The Blitz, complete high school coverage

On a night where it looked early on that Athens Academy would run away with a win, the Lakeview Lions stuck together but came up short, 21-6, at Jock Horner Field.

“This is one of those measuring stick games,” said Lakeview coach Bobby Gruhn. “We competed well, and I can see that we are getting closer to where we want to be.”

The Spartans (4-0) scored on their first possession of the night, a long 14-play drive that contained four of their 10 first downs of the night. Athens Academy quarterback Austin Schulte connected with Eric Williams for a 19-yard scoring pass play.

Williams put the Spartans on the board with 8:01 in the second quarter on a 72-yard punt return in which he was able to get to the right sideline and outrun the Lions’ punt coverage.

“When I got to the sideline after my first punt return, my coach told me to take the next one to the outside and see what I could do.” Williams said. “So I did what he said, trusted him, and it turned out pretty good.”

Williams not only scored in each of the first two quarters, but he intercepted a Tim Reynolds pass in the second quarter as well.

“We played sloppy, but that is not to take away anything coach Gruhn is doing here,” Spartan coach Mike Gunn said. “Our problem is us. We have too many penalties and are not executing on the little parts of the game.”

Athens Academy averaged more than 40 points per game in its first two games, but in their last two performances that number is down almost 25 points per contest.

“We wanted to dummy down the offense a little this week, but they were ready,” Gunn said.

Lakeview (2-2) struggled offensively in the first half with a trio of three-and-outs to start the game, but following the Williams punt return, the Lions were able to finally give their defense a break. Their initial first down came with 6:27 left in the first half.

An injury-riddled third quarter saw Reynolds and a member of the Athens Academy offensive go down and out for the game. Both coaches said they would wait and see the effects of both injuries before making statements about how it would affect their teams.

The Spartans would score midway through the second quarter on an Austin Schulte 4-yard run, but the Lions would answer in their ensuing drive.

Lakeview running back Trevor Price was able to finally break free on a 29-yard touchdown run of his own. The score was set up by a bruising 28-yard run by Caleb Faulkner to the Lions' 30-yard line.

“The coaches and players made adjustments and we were able to raise the energy in the second half, which helped us,” Gruhn said.

“We’re getting there. Of course we are impatient right now and we want to be there now, but it is good to see improvement.”

Lakeview has a week off before traveling to Chamblee to take on Cross Keys on Oct. 12.

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