NELSONVILLE, Ohio — The Nelsonville-York Buckeyes outscored Meigs 20-0 in the second half to defeat the Marauders 30-22 in TVC Ohio Division football action Friday night in Athens County.
Keegan Wilburn had 142 yards of his game-high 178 and two scores in the second half to pace the Buckeyes.
The host Buckeyes received the opening kickoff and on the first play, Mikey Seel hit Brandon Phillips over the middle for 34 yards. The Marauder defense held on the next three plays and Alec Taylor gave the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead with a 28-yard field goal at the 9:48 mark of the period.
The Marauders took a 7-3 lead with 3:54 left in the period, when Coulter Cleland hit a leaping Weston Baer. Baer slipped a Buckeye defender and scored from 43 yards out. Cleland had set the play up two plays earlier when he hit Zach Bartrum for 27 to the Buckeye 43. Levi Rafferty added the extra points for a 7-3 Meigs advantage.
But back came the Buckeyes, five plays later Seel hit Phillips from 42 yards out and the score. Taylor added the kick for a 10-7 Nelsonville-York lead with 1:53 left in the period.
The Buckeyes received a huge break on the ensuing drive, on second and 10, Abe Lundy broke a couple tackles at the line of scrimmage and broke into the clear. Lundy appeared to be well in the end zone for a 42-yard scoring run, when he was hit from behind and fumbled. The officials ruled the play a fumble and Wilburn recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
The Buckeyes drove down field and had their drive stall at the Meigs 9, Taylor’s 23 yard field goal was blocked by Meigs to end the threat.
The Marauders took a 15-10 lead with 1:06 left in the half, when Cleland weaved his way into the end zone on a quarterback draw from nine yards out. Lunday added the extra points on a run for Meigs.
The Buckeyes drove straight down the field and Cole Adams made a huge defensive play for Meigs by intercepting a Wilburn pass at the goal line and returned it 65 yards to the Buckeye 35.
Two plays later with the Marauders facing a second and 15, Cleland hit Baer once again, this time for a 40-yard scoring play. Rafferty added the extra points and Meigs took a 22-10 lead in the locker room at the half.
Wilburn pulled the Buckeyes to within 22-17 when he scored from 14 yards out, Taylor added the kick at the 6:04 mark of the third period.
Meigs came right back and drove to the Nelsonville-York 10, play the Buckeye defense held on downs. On first down, the Marauders thought they received a break when Wilburn coughed up the football, with Meigs recovering — but the officials ruled it an incomplete pass.
On second down, Wilburn slipped through the line and the speedster took it 90 yards for the score. The kick was blocked but the Buckeyes had regained the lead at 23-22 with 3:24 left in the third.
The Buckeyes added an insurance score after holding the Marauders after holding Meigs on fourth down. Seel scored from a yard out, and Taylor added the kick with 4:31 remaining to give the Buckeyes a 30-22 lead, which is the way the contest ended.
Wilburn led all rushers with 178 yards in 18 carries, Seel added 48 in 17 tries, Seel was 12-of-16 in the air for 191 yards, Wilburn out of the Wildcat was failed to complete a pass in two attempts with an interception. Phillips caught six passes for 116 yards, Bryce Richards three for 22, Wilburn two for 41.
Cleland had another outstanding day completing 20-of-34 in the air for 271 yards. Baer caught six passes for 106 yards, Zach Bartrum seven for 62, Lundy two for 26, and Ty Bartrum two for 26. Wyatt Hoover added one for 12 and Wesley Smith one for 10.
Meigs will return home next Friday night to host Athens in the annual homecoming contest.
Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.