Athens & Chapel Hill Face In Playoff-Caliber Battle - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Athens & Chapel Hill Face In Playoff-Caliber Battle

Three years ago, a matchup between Athens and Chapel Hill would not have been a game of the week candidate. In 2005, the two teams were a combined 4 and 16. Things have certainly changed.

Chapel Hill is shooting for their third straight playoff season, and Athens is coming off of their first playoff run in more than ten years. This week's matchup of the 3-0 Bulldogs and the 3-1 Hornets is a big game, and you can bet they know who's across the line.

"They're pretty good," Chapel Hill tight end LaDedrick Calico said. "Big and fast, just like we are. I think we're a little better."

"They're big and aggressive and fast," Athens lineman Derrick Rhodes said, "but a team we can beat. They'll give us a really good look, we've got a fast district and this will get us ready for it."

"Our offense has to be ready," Chapel Hill's Valentino Jones said. "They've got a good defensive squad."

These former district rivals are now separated but they still share a lot, winning records, high expectations, and excitement at being considered a playoff power.

"The expectations have risen," Athens safety Deliance Moore said. "We're not expected to be 1-9, we're expected to be a playoff team."

"It's exciting to see all these people in the stands," Chapel Hill fullback Sam Ivy said. "I love to know what they expect from us."

Both teams are playing their last pre-district tuneup, and want to keep that playoff train rolling.

"This is our last chance," Chapel Hill lineman Juan Quinonez said. "We won't be back next year to finish what we started, we've got to finish it off this year."

"We have a board," Moore said, "that lists all of our playoff appearances. I want my senior year to be up there. The guys following me want their senior years up there, we want to come back ten years later and see that Athens is a dynasty, and we're expected to win."

Reid Kerr can be reached at rkerr@kltv.com.

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