ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — The Athens Bulldogs and the Meigs Marauders collectively lit up the scoreboard Friday evening for 108 points and over 1,200 total yards as the Bulldogs posted a 62-46 victory.
The Bulldogs (5-2, 3-0) came into Friday’s contest undefeated in the TVC Ohio Division, while the injury-riddled Marauders (3-4, 1-3) having struggled of late due to several injuries.
The Maroon and Gold, however, went toe to toe with the guests in the first half with Athens scoring late to take the first lead of the night into the locker room. Athens outscored Meigs 42-23 in the middle two periods for the difference in the contest.
Meigs scored first with 5:30 left in the first period when sophomore speedster Zach Bartrum scored from 60 yards out. After a two point conversion, quarterback Brendan Sano scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns from four yards out at the 4:20 mark to pull the Bulldogs to within 8-6.
The Marauders came right back with Lane Cullums taking it in from 34 yards, after Layne Acree made it a 15-6 contest Sano’s second score of the night made it 15-13 Meigs after one.
On the first play of the second period, Zach Helton hit Zach Bartrum on a middle screen, Bartrum broke to the outside and raced 68 yards for the score. Acree made it a 22-13 Marauder advantage.
After a Mikal Casteel score for Athens cut into the Marauder lead, Meigs increased the lead to 10 when Christian Mattox pulled in a 15 yard pass from Helton. Helton added the extra points for a 30-20 Meigs lead with 4:38 leaf in the half.
But in the last four minutes Sano hit Robert Dickelman for long scores, one for 71 and the other from 30 with just six second left in the half as Athens went into the locker room on top 34-30.
Sano threw two third period touchdown passes to Nick Barga and another one to Dickelman to put the Bulldogs on top 48-30, but Meigs refused to give in.
Bartrum scored on a 29 yard run and Helton ran the extra points and Meigs cut the lead to 48-38 with 1:03 left. But Casteel scored from 11 yards out and Gribble added the kick for a 55-38 contest heading into the final period.
Jared Kennedy pulled in a Helton pass from five yards out and after Cullums added the extra points, Meigs pulled to within 55-46. Athens wrapped up the scoring when Andy Kostival scored from 60 yards out, Gribble added the extra points for the 62-46 Athens win.
Sano was outstanding for the Bulldogs accounting for 5601 total yards. The senior rushed 21 times for 125 yards, and completed 11 of 16 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns. Casteel added 14 carries for 60 yards and Kostival two for 59. Dickelman also had a huge game with four receptions for 203 yards, Trayce Albin added three for 80.
Lane Cullums led the Marauders with 140 yards in 17 tires, Bartrum added seven for 102. Helton who was pushed into the quarterback slot after an injury to Cody Bartrum also was outstanding, the junior under heavy pressure completed 16 of 33 for a career high 296 yards for Meigs. Layne Acree was one for one for 16 on a fake punt.
Bailey Caruthers had six catches for 84 yards, Bartrum added four for 92.
Meigs will travel to Jackson next week for a 7 p.m. contest. Athens will host Wellston.
Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.