THE PLAINS, Ohio — Junior quarterback Landon Wheatley racked up 325 total yards while leading the Athens Bulldogs to a 49-35 win over Meigs Friday at Athens High School’s R. Basil Rutter Field and Joe Burrow Stadium on Friday.
Wheatley threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns, and added 136 on the ground on just nine carries and a score in the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division contest.
The Marauders (2-4, 1-2 TVC Ohio) jumped on top first when Coulter Cleland scored from 18 yards out. Matt Barr’s kick made it 7-0 at the 4:14 mark of the opening frame. The Bulldogs came back and pulled to within 7-6 when Levi Neal pulled in a 30 yard pass from Wheatley.
Athens (2-5, 2-1) took the lead in the second period when Derrick Welsh picked off a Meigs pass and went 82 yards for the score with 5:39 left in the half. Wheatley then made it a 21-7 contest when he kept the ball and went 72 yards for the score.
Griffin Cleland pulled Meigs to within a score as he hailed in a 24 yard pass from older brother Coulter with 34 seconds left in the half.
But it took Athens just 26 seconds to score as Welsh caught an eight yard pass from Wheatley with eight seconds left to take a 28-14 lead at the half.
Jake McElroy added a one yard touchdown run for Meigs in the third period and on the ensuing kickoff Athens fumbled and Dillon Howard recovered for Meigs. Matt Barr then scored from three yards out with 3:52 left in the period to tie the game at 28.
But Athens came right back as Welsh caught a 20 yard scoring pass from Wheatley and Luke Brandes added runs of 11 and 12 yards to increase the lead to 49-28.
Meigs closed out the scoring with 39 seconds left when Cleland hit Wes Metzger on a 20 yard scoring pass to make the final score 49-35.
Wheatley led all rushers with 136 yards in just nine carries. Brandes added 12 carries for 84 yards. Wheatley was 12 of 17 in the air for 189 yards. Alex Pero had four receptions for 31 yards, Welsh three for 64, Marcus Stevens three for 55 and Levi Neal two for 39.
Coulter Cleland led Meigs on the ground with nine carries for 68 yards and was 24 of 39 in the air with two interceptions for 159 yards. Griffin Cleland led Meigs with 10 receptions for 57. Morgan Roberts added five for 26 and Metzger four for 49.
Meigs travels to Logan on Friday for a non-conference game at 7 p.m.
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Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.