Athens Bulldog player Joey Moore looks to the sideline during a match up between Athens and Wellston on October 19

Wellston Win Streak Snapped By Bulldogs

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WELLSTON, Ohio- The Wellston Golden Rockets were flying high, coming into tonight on a six game winning streak. There was excitement in the air, it was Homecoming after all, and they seemed poised to be the front-runner for the TVC-Ohio crown. That was a reality, until the Athens Bulldogs reminded them who the true top dogs in the conference were.

The Bulldogs stormed into C. H. Jones Field and grounded the Golden Rockets with a huge game from their quarterback, winning 34-18.

Athens (4-4, 4-0) came in with one central goal: stop Rylan Molihan at all costs. This was a Bulldog defense that had surrendered over 200 rushing yards to Jackson and their explosive running back earlier in the year, but this time they had a great game plan. The defense often sent an extra blitzer, rushing five instead of the normal four-man rush and disrupting the Golden Rocket rushing attack. When Wellston was forced to throw it, Athens was ready to pounce, picking Golden Rocket quarterback RJ Kemp off in the second quarter. They would also sack Kemp four times throughout the game, forcing the Golden Rockets into longer third down plays.

The center of the Bulldogs offensive universe circles around one big, glowing sun in quarterback Joey Moore. He once again put up an impressive stat line going 14/21 with 201 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Moore was just as effective using his legs, rushing for 143 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, with an average run going 7.2 yards. The big play ability of this offense was apparent, as both of Moore’s passing touchdowns to Braeden Halbert and Corbin Stalder traveled over 30 yards. They had a much quicker pace to their offense, tiring out the Golden Rocket defense early on in this one. Nate Trainer continues his incredible pace with eight catches for 91 yards, bringing his receiving yards total to 834 on the year.

As for the Golden Rockets (6-2, 3-1), their rocking home crowd couldn’t help stop the Bulldogs in this one. Wellston gave up 428 total yards to Athens and couldn’t stop them when they needed to most. Josh Bodey was double-teamed all night, disrupting his ability to get into the backfield at a consistent rate. They did force two fumbles and picked Joey Moore off, but they couldn’t capitalize on the turnovers the entire night.

This team leans on its defense, but the pressure was put squarely on the Golden Rockets offense tonight and it might have been too much for them. RJ Kemp struggled against a ferocious front seven, only mustering up 119 total yards of offense. Rylan Molihan did show up, with 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns, but the yards were much tougher to come by. His 30 yard touchdown in the second quarter helped his yards per attempt, but he was stopped for no gain or only a few yards for most of the night. Receiver Hunter Smith usually uses his height to his advantage, but being matched up against Braeden Halbert most of the night made his one advantage disappear, and he was held to only one catch on the night.

The Bulldogs overall size made it tougher for the Golden Rockets to get much going, the same problem they had the last time they lost a game earlier in the year to the Jackson Ironmen.

On a positive note, a member of the Golden Rocket football team was named Homecoming King tonight, as senior Corey Wagner was awarded the title prior to kickoff.

The Athens Bulldogs have found themselves in the driver’s seat for the TVC-Ohio title now, still undefeated in conference play, as they will head to Bidwell to take on the River Valley Raiders. As for the Wellston Golden Rockets, they will play their senior night game next week against the Vinton County Vikings, and they will be looking to get back into the win column.