ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — Athens entered its game on Friday night out of a playoff spot but wanted to finish the season out strong. They found themselves down big late but down but never out for the Golden Eagles: they mounted a 24-point comeback in the third and fourth quarters, the second biggest comeback in Alabama state history as they got the 32-31 win over Russellville to end their season on a three-game win streak and finish the year at 5-5. For that, Athens is the week 10 Tyler Mann Team of the Week!
“At halftime, I went in and didn’t even raise my voice. We said three weeks ago this team is going to be remembered for how you finish and you’ve got 24 minutes to change it. It was one of those things where hey we scored, it’s like that’s good, then we get a stop, we score again and it’s like this thing’s about to get interesting, and then we’ve got to go 88 yards in less than two minutes, didn’t use a timeout. It was a 14-play drive, just an unbelievable job by our guys,” Athens Head Football Coach Cody Gross said.
“I remember looking at the scoreboard and we were still down like 10 points and I looked at my other linebacker and I’m like we’ve got a shot, we can do it. And sure enough, with eight seconds left, we scored and it was a crazy feeling, it didn’t seem real. I’d love to be in the playoffs but you know, really couldn’t ask for much of a better win to end a career and a season on, that’s a game that I’ll remember forever,” Preston Haney, a senior linebacker at Athens added.
“My heart really jumped, I was like we just made that comeback, a 24 point win comeback, I was just really happy. The first person I hugged was really Brogan [Gross], for him to step up and be so young, he stepped up,” said Kameron Gatewood, an Athens senior running back.
“In the situation that we were in, we could not have gone out a better way: exhilarating win, three wins in a row so we’ve got a three-game win streak going into next year, we’ve got a lot of guys coming back and we’re already into the offseason and get better for next year,” Gross added.
Athens finishes the 2022 season with a 5-5 overall record.