©Dale Zanine 2019_12_13 00770.JPG

Wesleyan's Griffin Caldwell (31) follows blockers running the ball against Eagle's Landing Christian Academy during Friday’s state championship game at Georgia state. Photo: Dale Zanine

Athens Academy Spartans (8-A Private)

Coach: Josh Alexander

Record: 5-0

Last week: Beat Hebron Christian 35-7

Wesleyan Wolves (5-A Private)

Coach: Franklin Pridgen

Record: 4-1

Last week: Had a bye

After a disappointing, 52-26 loss to Prince Avenue Christian two weeks ago, Wesleyan returns from its bye for another showdown with an Athens power, top-ranked Athens Academy. The game is interesting statewide in Class A Private with Wesleyan, last year’s state runner-up, hosting the unbeaten Spartans.

“Anytime the No. 1 team in the state comes to play in your stadium it's a really big deal, a huge opportunity,” Pridgen said. “Playing Athens Academy right after playing another elite team in Prince Avenue is a tough schedule draw but that makes us ready for a tough region slate and hopefully a deep playoff run. Athens is a big, physical team that runs the ball downhill extremely well and has great athletes in space. They can beat you a lot of different ways. We have to be at our best if we hope to have a chance.”

Athens is led by offensively Charlie Chisholm, Palmer Bush and playmaking wideout/defensive back Deion Colzie, a Notre Dame recruit. The Spartans have held all five opponents to 14 points or fewer, and their defense is particularly stout against the run, which will make it tough on the Wesleyan ground game led by Griffin Caldwell (25 rushes for 148 yards, three touchdowns two weeks ago). Wolves quarterback Ryan Rose (12 of 15 passing for 188 yards, TD two weeks ago) gives Wesleyan offensive balance.

Aside from facing Prince Avenue and Georgia quarterback commit Brock Vandagriff, Wesleyan’s defense has been impressive this season, too. Leading the way in the most recent game were Drew Bell and Will Tucker.

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: Wesleyan won 35-14 in 2010

Location: Wesleyan School

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