By Jonathan Deal
Mark Bailey remembers when his Athens Bible School girls soccer team managed to win just a few games each season.
Times have changed.
In his fifth season, Bailey’s team will make the program’s first playoff appearance Saturday against Guntersville.
“I basically started from scratch five years ago,” said Bailey. “So for us to be here is like a small country qualifying for the world cup.”
Soccer teams in Classes 1A through 4A are grouped together for the AHSAA playoffs. With such a large gap, playoff matchups in the 1A-4A classifications can sometimes be a mismatch.
A 4A school, Guntersville (11-0-2) has won two state championships in the last five years. They are currently ranked No. 3 in the state.
“We’re going to give it our best shot.” said Mark Bailey. “Guntersville is a very strong team. It’s a David and Goliath-type of situation. We’re just honored to be there.”
A playoff game against Guntersville seemed far off just a few seasons ago, but strong senior leadership and a talented sophomore class has helped ABS advance to the postseason for the first time.