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Athens High School's quarterback Landon Wheatley (2) runs the ball against the Logan Chieftains held at Logan High School on Friday Sept. 24, 2021.

Athens Football: Bulldogs' passing attack not enough in 24-14 loss to Logan

Athens headed north Friday to face a struggling Logan for its final nonconference game of the season. Athens kept it close in the first half, but for the second-straight game, it was shut out in the second half and lost 24-14.

A quick start from Logan and a successful two-point conversion put Athens down early. It wasn’t shaken, as quarterback Landon Wheatley connected with Derrick Welsh for a 60-yard touchdown pass. 

Both teams continued with their success in the first half in different ways, as Logan leaned heavily on the run game, while Athens focused on its passing. After an injury to running back and linebacker Luke Brandes last week, passing the ball became the main option for the Bulldogs.

“We felt like throwing the ball was our best chance this week,” coach Nathan White said. “Making sure we had Luke on defense was obviously a part of that decision.”

There is also more of a developing trust in Wheatley, as he completed 16-of-30 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns Friday while adding an additional 75 yards in rushing.

“He played really well, ran the ball hard, made good decisions,” White said. “He’s going to be a really good quarterback.”

With this being Wheatley’s first year as starting quarterback, White likes the way the sophomore is developing as a player.

“You can tell he’s more comfortable,“ White said. “This is his first year as the starting quarterback and he’s starting to really embrace it and enjoy that spotlight.”

However, Wheatley’s performance wasn’t enough. Athens was outscored 10-0 in the second half. A long drive that resulted in a field goal by Logan got the second half started, and turnovers soon derailed the Bulldogs’ chances of keeping up.

“The second half came down to some execution. We made a few big plays but couldn’t string a few good drives together,” White said.

A fumble on third down led to Logan increasing its lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On Athens’ next possession, an interception on Logan’s goal line dashed hopes it had of mounting a comeback.

“We needed to go score there to be in the game,” White said. “But there were 15 other plays just like that one that didn’t happen at the end. It’s never one play. You never look at the one thing that happened at the end.”

Logan and its strong rushing attack — 219 yards on 49 carries — ended the game as long drives and running out the clock left Athens with little time to respond. The Bulldogs ended Friday with their fifth loss of the season.

Athens might be able to get back on track against Meigs at home on Oct. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.


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