ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Athens scored two touchdowns in over a 2:55 span late in the first half, giving the Bulldogs some breathing room en route to a 32-14 victory over Meigs in Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division football action Friday night at Holzer Field/Farmers Bank Stadium.
The win was the Bulldogs 12th straight over the Marauders, with AHS holding a 23-15 record all time against the maroon and gold.
The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff and drove into Meigs territory, but turned the ball over on downs at the Marauder 40. On second down, Wyatt Hoover — who is playing quarterback in place of injured starter Coulter Cleland — kept the ball and rolled around right end and found a seem going 63 yards for the score.
The Marauders went into their bag of tricks on the extra point attempt as Hoover flipped the ball over his head to Abe Lundy to make it 8-0 at the 9:59 mark of the period.
Athens drove to the Marauder six yard line after the ensuing kick, but Zach Searles picked off a Joey Moore pass and returned it 47 yards to end the threat. The Bulldog defense held and Athens pulled to with in two when Moore hit Trey Harris from 15 yards out.
The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on another golden opportunity when they had a first and goal from the maroon and gold eight, but on first down Lundy stripped Peyton Gail from behind and the senior linebacker recovered for Meigs at the Marauder one.
Gail gave the Bulldogs their first lead off the night at the 3:33 mark of the half when he scored from seven yards out. Breyden Whiting made it 14-8 after pulling in a conversion pass from Moore.
The Bulldogs received good field position when the took over the ball at the Marauder 33 after a short Meigs punt. Braxton Springer scored from 16 yards out with 44.5 seconds left to take a 20-8 lead into the locker room.
The Marauder defense made another big play when Connor Imboden picked a Moore fumbler out of the air inside the Marauder 10. Imboden returned it 62 yards to the Bulldog 27, but Meigs returned the favor two plays later fumbling at the Bulldog 26.
Whiting pulled in a 19 yard scoring pass from Moore at the 3:39 mark of the third in increase their lead to 26-8.
Meigs pulled to within 12 when Hoover hit Griffin Cleland from four yards out with 6:42 left in the contest. The Bulldogs closed out the scoring with 4:15 left when Owen Roark picked off a Hoover pass and scored from 40 yards out to make the final 32-14 Athens.
Hoover rushed 25 times for a hard earned 168 yards to lead Meigs, he was 11 of 20 with an interception in the air for 86 yards. Cleland caught four for 34 and Morgan Roberts three for 41.
Moore led the Bulldogs with 127 yards in just 11 tries, Gail added 102 in 16 tries. Moore completed 16 of 30 with an interception for 139 yards, Whtitng had six receptions for 59 yards, and Springer added six for 54.
Meigs (2-3, 2-2 TVC Ohio) returns to league play next Friday when the Marauders travel to Alexander for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
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Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.