Aug. 25—CAPSHAW — The Athens Golden Eagles couldn't be stopped Thursday night and it resulted in a 63-14 season opening win over rival East Limestone.
The Golden Eagles scored touchdowns on five of their six first half drives and led comfortably 35-14 at halftime.
"I thought we were really together tonight and it just clicked," said junior quarterback Brogan Gross.
Athens set the tone for the game on the first play when senior receiver and South Alabama commit Jayshon Ridgle took a pop pass 73 yards for a score.
"When I caught the ball, the only thing on my mind was TD," said Ridgle.
Ridgle also had a 39-yard score on a screen and a 14-yard scoring catch. He finished with 141 yards receiving.
Gross finished with four touchdowns, two to Ridgle, a 21-yard toss to Caiden Duma and a 45-yard pass to Johnson Speegle.
Running back Silas Jones added two rushing scores of 4 and 6 yards in the first half.
Robert Borden and Halston Barker had rushing scores in the second half.
The win provided a strong opening to the 2023 season for the Golden Eagles, who are looking to make a run to the playoffs for the first time since 2020.
"I thought we looked really good on offense. Defensively we started slow but played better as the game went on," said Athens head coach Cody Gross. "We fought through some adversity at times, which was a plus."
East Limestone's two first-half scores came on a 29-yard pass from Jake Cochran to Jordan Moore and a 21-yard run by Cochran.
Athens also started last season with a big win over the Indians but faltered the next week on the road at Bob Jones. The Golden Eagles aren't looking for a repeat when they host the Patriots next week.
"We can't let this go to our head. Tonight we celebrate, but tomorrow we're back to work," said Brogan Gross.
Lauderdale County 27, Tanner 21: Lauderdale County rallied from a 14-12 deficit after three quarters to pick up a win in the season opener for both teams on Thursday.
Tanner (0-1) continues play next week at Mae Jemison. Lauderdale County (1-0) travels to Rogers.
Elkmont 30, Sheffield 29: For the first time since 2014, the Elkmont Red Devils opened the high school football season with a victory.
Elkmont held on to win a high-scoring, back-and-forth game on Thursday to open the season with a win for the first time since beating Ardmore 49-27 to open the 2014 season.
Elkmont (1-0) continues play next week at home against Brindlee Mountain.
West Morgan wins two: Victoria Parrish and Brooklyn Hunt combined for 22 kills as West Morgan opened the 2023 volleyball season with wins over Hatton (25-14, 25-18) and Haleyville (25-22, 25-22) on Thursday.
Parrish and Hunt finished with 11 kills each for the Rebels, while Chasity Rikard added nine kills. Alexandra Rodriguez had 25 assists and five aces and Zoey Brewington added 27 digs.
West Morgan (2-0) continues play on Saturday at the Wildcat Serve-off at Central-Florence.
Danville splits tri-match: Danville opened the season with a tri-match split at Guntersville on Thursday, defeating Geraldine 2-1 (26-28, 25-23, 15-9) before falling to host Guntersville 2-0 (26-24, 25-17).
Wendy Reyes led Danville with 10 kills against Geraldine. Trinity Coots had 30 assists for the Hawks, while Emily Lacy added seven digs.
Against Guntersville, Callie Henderson led the offense with six kills. Coots had 17 assists and Lacy finished with 12 digs.
Hartselle goes 1-1: The Tigers opened the season on Thursday with a tri-match split, falling 2-1 to Athens and sweeping Addison 2-0.
Ashley Holshouser had six kills and eight digs to lead Hartselle against Athens, while Lily Douglas added six kills. Amber Holshouser had four kills, 14 assists and 10 digs and Brooklyn Stiles finished with 10 digs and four aces.
Against Addison, Katie Gillott had a team-high five kills, while Ashley Holshouser, Amber Holshouser and Mary Frances Itsede added four kills each. Stiles had four aces and eight digs.
Hartselle (1-1) continues play on Saturday at the Juanita Boddie Tournament in Hoover.
Priceville drops pair: Priceville dropped a pair of matches on Thursday, falling to Madison Academy 2-0 (25-21, 25-14) and Central-Florence 2-1 (25-17, 19-25, 15-7).
Abby Langlois led the Bulldogs with 11 kills and four aces, while Maddi Kennedy added 19 digs. Ashlyn Johnson had 14 assists, 12 digs and six aces and Rachael Rotermund had 10 assists, 16 digs and five aces.
Brewer splits with Decatur, Buckhorn: Brewer split a tri-match on Thursday, falling to Buckhorn 2-0 before defeating Decatur 2-1. Decatur rounded out the match with a 2-1 loss to Buckhorn.
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