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Athens High School senior Nate Trainer runs the ball at the end of the second quarter during the game against Vinton County High School on Sept. 27, 2019.
Athens High School senior Nate Trainer runs the ball at the end of the second quarter during the game against Vinton County High School on Sept. 27, 2019. (Abigail Dean/WOUB)

Bulldogs Win Dogfight Against Vikings For Second Straight Win

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MCARTHUR, Ohio- In a fight where only the strongest prevailed, the Athens Bulldogs bested the Vinton County Vikings on Friday night. In a close-cut game of 33-28, the game kept the audience on their toes as the Bulldogs growled and snarled to victory despite a slow start in the fifth game of their season.

Athens (1-3) went into the game coming off their first win on Sept. 20 over Alexander, 28-6. Vinton County (2-2) have won their last two games and found a lot of success keeping the ball on the ground. Both teams looked to keep their win streaks alive.

Athens started the game out by making a statement when Corbin Stalder took the opening kickoff to their 49-yard line. The Bulldogs kept their foot on the gas and accelerated harder as they quickly marched down the field and finished the drive off on a 15-yard quarterback run from Joey Moore for a touchdown. A sense of deja vu was lingering from last week as Moore had previously ran the ball into the end zone.

Vinton County senior Nate Trainer looks to pass the ball down the field during the game against Vinton County High School on Sept. 27, 2019. Athens High School junior Joey Moore looks to pass the ball during the game against Vinton County High School on Sept. 27, 2019. Vinton County senior Logan Baker fights through the defense during the game at Vinton County against Athens High School on Sept. 27, 2019. (Abigail Dean/WOUB)
Vinton County senior Logan Baker fights through the defense during the game at Vinton County against Athens High School on Sept. 27, 2019. (Abigail Dean/WOUB)
Vinton County senior Nate Trainer looks down the field during the game at Vinton County against Athens High School on Sept. 27, 2019. (Abigail Dean/WOUB)
Athens High School junior Joey Moore looks to pass the ball during the game against Vinton County High School on Sept. 27, 2019. Vinton County senior Logan Baker fights through the defense during the game at Vinton County against Athens High School on Sept. 27, 2019. (Abigail Dean/WOUB)

The Vikings marched onto the field. They were ready to answer, quick.

Vikings stuck with their usual method of ground-and-pound, and began to move the ball down the field. With hopes to extend their drive, they went for it on fourth down, but when Braylon Damron dropped back to pass, he was tangled up and brought down before he got the ball off.

Athens started their next drive on their own 35-yard line after forcing a turnover on downs. Moore got things started with two passes to Nate Trainer, one being a 30 yard bomb to put the Bulldogs on the one yard line. Moore finished the drive off with a one yard fade to Braeden Halbert as Athens found the end zone for the second drive in a row. Moore started the game off on fire with one passing and one rushing touchdown.

Vinton County found themselves in a hole as the first quarter ticked away. The Vikings looked to change things up and air the ball out. Braylon Damron got things rolling with a pass to Okey Fitzwater for a quick 15-yard gain. Another pass coming from Damron was complemented by two big runs from Zack Radabaugh and Logan Baker. They found themselves inside the red zone on fourth down and opted to go for it once again. Damron got the pass off clean this time but the pass fell incomplete, which resulted in another empty drive for the Vikings.

The Vikings got the break they needed as Zayne Karr returned the punt 41 yards all the way to Athens 15-yard line. On the next play Jacob Wells marched into the endzone for the first Vikings touchdown of the game.

The Bulldogs had no answer to the Viking touchdown and found themselves punting the ball. With only 3:47 minutes remaining on the board, Vinton County put more points up on the board before the end of the first half.

The Vikings went back to pounding the rock and a big run from Wells for 20 yards would set them up with a first and goal on the 10-yard line. They found themselves on fourth down yet again but this time converting on a 2-yard touchdown run from Logan Baker.

Athens owned the first quarter, but Vinton County answered in the second quarter and lead the Bulldogs 14-13 at the end of the first half.

The game remained tight until the end. Both teams went back and forth trading blows, but Athens prevailed when the final whistle blew. Vinton County found a majority of their success in running the ball, which opened up a few passing opportunities. Moore’s success in running and passing the ball, however, was too much for the Vikings to take.

With another euphoric victory, the Athens Bulldogs have found themselves some momentum after a rough start to the season. They look forward to continue building on their victories in their home stand against the Logan Chieftains, while Vinton County Vikings will play the Alexander Spartans in an effort to get their third win of the year.