Bulldogs bite GA, 35-0

By Bryan Walters - [email protected]

GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — It wasn’t just the rain that rained on their parade.

Gallia Academy mustered only 107 yards of total offense, while Zacciah Saltzman churned out 146 rushing yards and three touchdowns as visiting Athens posted a 35-0 victory during a Week 6 non-conference gridiron contest at Memorial Field.

The Blue Devils (0-6) had next to no luck in their rain-drenched Homecoming contest, as the hosts produced only 12 yards of offense in a dozen plays during their first three possessions.

The Bulldogs (3-3), conversely, covered 98 yards in 16 plays while scoring on all three of their first quarter possessions en route to a 21-0 advantage less than 10 minutes into regulation.

As the rains intensified, neither team was able to produce points over the next two periods — allowing Athens to keep its three-score lead headed into the fourth.

The Bulldogs turned to Saltzman down the stretch, and the senior delivered with 86 rushing yards and a pair of touchdown runs in the final stanza — which allowed the Green and Gold to pick up their third consecutive win over the Blue Devils. Athens has also now won three straight decisions over GAHS at Memorial Field as well.

The Bulldogs outgained the hosts by a sizable 334-107 overall margin in total yards of offense, which included a 252-87 edge in the ground attack. AHS also claimed a 14-8 edge in first downs and finished the night plus-1 in turnover differential.

The guests started the scoring on their opening drive as Hunter Mullins hauled in a 19-yard pass from Brendan Sano, capping a 5-play, 29-yard drive at the 9:34 mark for a 6-0 advantage. Saltzman increased the lead to 14-0 after his 2-yard run capped a 10-play, 49-yard drive at the 4:51 mark of the first.

Tanner Tritipo blocked a punt by Gallia Academy’s Anthony Sipple on the ensuing drive, which allowed Athens to take over possession on the hosts 20. One play and one 20-yard scamper later by Mullins gave AHS a comfortable 21-0 cushion at the 2:09 mark of the first.

The Blue Devils mustered half of their first downs in the second canto, all of which came during a 14-play, 50-yard drive that lasted almost eight minutes and ultimately stalled at the Athens 35.

The guests followed by getting down to the GAHS 13, but that drive also stalled out with 34 seconds left in the half. The Blue Devils ran one play and went into halftime trailing 21-0.

The hosts put together a 13-play, 45-yard drive to start the second half, which eventually ended in a loss of downs at the Athens 10.

The Bulldogs advanced the ball past midfield, but Garrett Burns recovered a fumble at the the guests 45 with 3:52 left. Both teams punted on their ensuing possessions, then GAHS suffered a loss of downs in the early moments of the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs marched 31 yards in five plays as Saltzman scored from six yards out with 9:39 remaining, making it a 28-0 contest. Saltzman also capped a two-play, 74-yard drive with a 65-yard TD run at the 7:09 mark to wrap up the final margin.

Kole Carter led the GAHS rushing attack with 87 yards on 30 carries, followed by Eric Ward with 12 yards on six totes. Carter was also 3-of-14 passing for 20 yards and threw two picks, while Ward led the hosts with two catches for 10 yards.

Between bad snaps and wet conditions, the Blue Devils had 10 fumbles on the night — but did not lose any of them. GAHS was also penalized seven times for 70 yards.

Saltzman ended the night with 146 yards and three scores on 21 carries, followed by Heath Wiseman with 37 yards on two attempts. Sano added six rushes for 36 yards and was also 9-of-15 passing for 81 yards and two scores. Wiseman led the AHS wideouts with five catches for 38 yards.

The guests were flagged four times for 45 yards and also had three fumbles, one of which was lost. Robert Dickelman had two interceptions in the Bulldog victory.

Gallia Academy — which has now dropped eight straight decisions — returns to action Friday when it travels to Minford for a Week 7 non-conference contest at 7:30 p.m.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

By Bryan Walters

[email protected]