Top 25 Games Of 2015: No. 10, Van At Athens
Athens and Van's 2014 game definitely met immediate expectations and ultimately held up as the de facto District 8-4A Division I championship game.
Deja vu. Van at Athens is expected to be a monster game and the most important clash within the league.
The Oct. 9 meeting checks in as the No. 10 game on ETSN.fm's Top 25 Games of 2015 countdown.
Van squeaked by with a 35-32 win despite Hornets running back Logan Fuller battering its defense for 236 yards and three touchdowns last season. It was the very game Fuller overtook the school's career rushing record.
But with Fuller and a handful of strong supporting runners back in the fold behind a dominant offensive line, it is Athens with the preseason edge this go-around. Van's stock is a little lower with critical losses in the passing game and along the front seven on the defensive side of things.
The 2015 game will still be a contrast of offensive approaches. The primarily wing offense and other power formations versus the spread.
One thing to love about the Hornets' game is how they suck the life right out of the opposing offense with long, meticulous drives. They can keep a very productive unit like Van's sitting on the sideline for up to eight minutes a pop -- very stressful for an opponent reliant on their offense in the 48-minute high school game.
While the Vandals did take their lumps to graduation, their offense isn't expected to have much difficulty reloading. And they do have Nebraska running back commitment Aphonso Thomas at their service on the heels of a 934-yard junior campaign held back by a second outstanding running back and an explosive quarterback and receivers combination.
Of course, Texas A&M commitment Travon Fuller will be lurking in the Hornets' secondary.
You couldn't ask for a better match up.
If the game crumbles apart before the fourth quarter, credit or cite Van's re-tooled front seven and a solid returning secondary headlined by junior safety Cooper Bledsoe.
More likely, it's a game that comes down to the final minutes.
Will Logan Fuller and company bully their way into the end zone with hardly any time left on the clock or will Van's offense be capable of making a quick, final run?
That's the big question in the 10th-best East Texas game of the season.
ETSN.fm's Top 25 Games of 2015
- No. 10: Van at Athens
- No. 11: Lufkin vs. West Monroe
- No. 12: Chapel Hill at Carthage
- No. 13: Waskom at Elysian Fields
- No. 14: John Tyler at Lufkin
- No. 15: Newton at West Orange-Stark
- No. 16: Longview at John Tyler
- No. 17: Chapel Hill vs. Whitehouse
- No. 18: Newton at Crockett
- No. 19: Tyler Lee at Sachse
- No. 20: Gilmer vs. Carthage
- No. 21: Atlanta at Liberty-Eylau
- No. 22: Tatum at Gilmer
- No. 23: Atlanta at Gladewater
- No. 24: Lufkin at Tyler Lee
- No. 25: Tatum at Newton