Athens Clinches TVC-Ohio Title

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The Athens Bulldogs defeated the Nelsonville-York Bulldogs 42-21 on the road Friday to earn their second-straight outright TVC-Ohio championship. With the win, Athens (9-1) secured a home playoff game for the second consecutive season as well.

The Bulldogs were ranked fourth in OHSAA Division III, Region 12 entering Friday's game. Athens has won nine straight games after dropping its opening contest to Galia Academy.

Nelsonville-York's (7-3) playoff hopes are in jeopardy, as it held the eighth spot in the Division V, Region 19 standings before Friday's loss. The Buckeyes dropped their first two games of the season against Trimble and Newark Catholic.

Gridiron Glory Player of the Year candidate Joey Burrow led the Bulldogs offensively with five total touchdowns. The sophomore was 10-for-20 through the air for 237 yards and three scores. He added 115 rushing yards and two scores on 16 carries.

Athens took control of the game late in the first quarter when Burrow connected with fellow sophomore Ryan Luehrman on a slant route that went 76 yards for the first touchdown of the game. After forcing a three-and-out on the ensuing Buckeye possession, sophomore Trae Williams took a delayed handoff 54 yards for the Bulldogs' second score in as many plays.

Williams finished with 129 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Senior Tyler McIntosh contributed four receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Nelsonville-York moved the ball well and controlled field position early, venturing into the red zone on its first two drives. But the Bulldogs' defense stiffened, forcing an interception and a turnover on downs on those two possessions.

Buckeye quarterback Joe Young completed just 7-of-21 passes for 58 yards and scored a rushing touchdown. Clint Handa added a touchdown on the ground, and Jacob Blake scored on a kick return in the third quarter but Athens continued to keep pace with the Buckeyes' scoring.