Bulldogs Secure First Outright TVC-Ohio Crown

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With 30 penalties and 12 turnovers, the “Game of the Century” between the Athens Bulldogs and Nelsonville-York Buckeyes may not have been the most beautiful contest.

Yet when Seth Brooks’ 24-yard field goal flew through the uprights, securing a 24-21 overtime victory for the Bulldogs, it certainly became the most memorable.

Athens secured its first outright TVC-Ohio title and 10-0 season in team history Friday night at Basil Rutter Field, in a contest that had all of Athens County holding its breath.

In the first half, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 21-0 lead fueled by a number of Nelsonville turnovers.

After a Nathan Dean fumble was not taken advantage of by the Bulldogs, the second turnover would be costly. Dustin Young coughed up the ball on the Buckeye 31-yard-line, which set up Athens’ first touchdown on the very next play when sophomore quarterback Michael Germano found Skylar Schwarzel for the score.

In the first half, Germano did a good job filling in for the injured Josh Skinner in the first half completing 7 of 9 passes for 123 yards two passing touchdowns.

Just 16 seconds later, Dan Kline would fumble allowing Athens to take over with great field position again. They would piece together a drive with precision passes from Germano that he would complete himself with a 5-yard TD run.

The defenses would get tough in the second quarter, with big plays on defense and penalties keeping the scoring down. After exchanging punts, Germano threw a swing pass to Mitch Rider who ran it 42 yards for a touchdown just moments after an Austin Ziolkowski interception.

In the second half, momentum would swing toward Nelsonville-York who put up 21 unanswered points of their own. Germano would complete just one pass in the second half and threw two interceptions. The Buckeyes got their first score after an interception on the first play of the half by Jacob Perkins led to a Dustin Young touchdown.

After being contained for the first two and a half quarters, Young showed why he was selected as a "Player of the Year" candidate, having two touchdowns for the Buckeyes. He had 159 yards on 30 carries to pace the Nelsonville offense.

The second score was made important with a gutsy call to go for two that allowed Nelsonville-York to cut the deficit to 21-15. The Buckeyes missed the extra point, leaving the score at 21-21 with seven minutes remaining.

Athens was driving with time winding down, however a rare hurdling penalty called on DeVon Sharp derailed the drive.

In overtime, Nelsonville-York began with the ball but squandered their opportunity by throwing an interception to Mitch Rider. 

Athens saw their first attempt stall but on fourth down turned toward kicker Seth Brooks to finish the game. Despite being added to the team just two days ago, his 24-yard kick was good, securing the game and the TVC-Ohio crown for Athens.