LOGAN — Whenever you listen to former Logan Chieftains speak about their football careers, nearly all of them talk about games against the Athens Bulldogs.
Such is also the case among many Athens grid alumni as well.
Soon, maybe more Chiefs and 'Dogs will be able to do the same. After a long hiatus, the Bulldogs are slated to return to the Logan football schedule.
The two schools have agreed to play beginning in 2015 when they will collide in the season opener.
For generations, Logan-Athens was one of the state's fiercest prep rivalries — in all sports, not just football — and hopefully it will be so again.
It's a game that, quite frankly, should be played... and should never have left the schedule in the first place even after Athens departed the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League for the Tri-Valley Conference after the 2007-08 school year.
For Logan, the game will replace the season-opening series with Lancaster. Lancaster and Logan officials have agreed to end the series — which has been the season opener since 2004 — after the Chiefs and Gales play next season in Logan Chieftain Stadium.
While a terrific gate for both schools, the Chiefs — traditionally physically much smaller than their Lancaster counterparts — often wind up having to deal with season-altering injuries sustained in the Lancaster game. It's become extremely lopsided, with this year's 57-7 drubbing at the hands of the Gales the worst ever.
For Athens, the game will replace its season opener with Gallipolis. With the TVC Ohio Division expanding to include River Valley in 2014, each league will have an odd number of teams (seven in the TVC Ohio, five in the SEOAL) and a bye week.
Gallipolis and Athens both happen to have league byes in week six and will thus move that contest starting in 2015. It's a win-win situation, helping both Athens and Gallia Academy fill their bye slot and also clearing the way for a Logan-Athens season opener.
The 2015 game will be at Athens and the 2016 game will be at Logan.
Even with not having played Athens since the 2007 season, the Bulldogs and Chiefs have still met 88 times since 1914... for the Chiefs, second only to the 90 they've played against Jackson since 1912.
Logan is 49-34-5 all-time against Athens. The Chiefs hold a 30-13-2 edge in Hocking County while the Bulldogs are 21-19-3 in games played in Athens County.
The Bulldogs are ranked No. 5 in this week's state Associated Press Division III poll and lead their Division III playoff region. Athens currently has a great team that reminds many high school football fans of the '08 and '09 Logan teams.
Logan's 2014 schedule is complete and there is still one open date on the 2015 slate. The schedules are as follows:
2014: Aug. 29, Lancaster; Sept. 5, at Teays Valley; Sept. 12, at Meigs; Sept. 19, at Loudonville; Sept. 26, Nelsonville-York; Oct. 3, at Portsmouth*; Oct. 10, at Jackson*; Oct. 17, Zanesville; Oct. 24, Gallipolis*; Oct. 31, at Warren*
2015: Aug. 28, at Athens; Sept. 4, Teays Valley; Sept. 11, Meigs; Sept. 18, open; Sept. 25, at Nelsonville-York; Oct. 2, at Portsmouth*#; Oct. 9, Jackson*; Oct. 16, at Zanesville; Oct. 23, at Gallipolis*; Oct. 30, Warren*
*—Southeastern Ohio Athletic League games
#—The 2015 schedule is being adjusted so that all SEOAL teams play two league games at home and two league games away; in order for that to occur, Logan will play at Portsmouth in back-to-back seasons