THE PLAINS - Through the first two games of the season, the Athens Bulldogs had put a whopping 96 points on the scoreboard, so Warren football coach Andy Schob knew the green and gold had one of the best offenses in southeastern Ohio.
But even knowing how good the Bulldogs were the first two games, it didn't help when it came to stopping them on Friday.
Athens sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow completed 16-of-23 pass attempts for 408 yards and an amazing seven touchdowns as the Bulldogs romped to a 66-14 victory in The Plains.
"They're better than advertised," Schob said. "They were extremely good before, and they've gotten even better just in the short season."
The Bulldogs amassed 636 yards of total offense, with their sophomore quarterback alone out-rushing the Warriors. Of the 10 Athens touchdowns, Burrow factored in on eight of them, as the sophomore standout also rushed for a score and 81 yards on 10 carries.
"He understands when people vacate an area where to put the ball," Schob praised.
As good as the Bulldogs were through the air, they were just as good on the ground, picking up 228 yards on just 27 carries.
While the Bulldogs ended up putting a ton of offense numbers in the box score, it didn't begin easily.
Athens managed just a single score in the first quarter of play, which came on Tyler McIntosh's 15-yard reception from Burrow with 7:50 to play in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs' other first quarter possession ended with a fumble at the Warrior' 24. Warren couldn't capitalize on the turnover, as they had to punt the ball away.
Chas Miller's 56-yard punt gave the Bulldogs the ball at their own 9-yard line, but big plays assured Athens of points, with Burrow connecting with McIntosh on a 49-yard reception to set up the second Athens score, which came with 11:49 in the first half when Burrow connected with Skylar Schwarzel on a 25-yard TD pass.
In the second quarter of play, the Bulldogs ran a total of 12 plays, and scored on four of them. Of the first 10 plays from scrimmage for the Bulldogs, they put four in the endzone before kneeling to run out the clock on the first half.
"Everybody played one hell of a lights out game," said Athens' football coach Ryan Adams. "Everybody executed extremely well. Joey Burrow and (Assistant) Coach (Nathan) White just have a great relationship going on and changing plays and doing different things with what we see."
Scoring on its' second play from scrimmage in the second quarter, the Bulldogs then strung together scoring drives of two plays, 64 yards, three plays, 60 yards, and 70 yards on three plays.
After all the Athens' scoring, the Warriors finally got on the board. On their scoring drive, the Warriors ran just one play fewer than Athens did in the entire quarter as they covered 65 yards on 11 plays, with quarterback Dylan Leffingwell connecting with Chas Miller from 11-yards out with 18 seconds before the break.
Putting up four scores in the second quarter, the Bulldogs equalled that in the third as the offense once again clicked with big plays. Two of Athens' four scoring possessions lasted three plays or less as the Bulldogs never punted and the only drives not to end in points were lost on fumbles or ended with kneeldowns to run out the clock.
"Athens absolutely dominated in all phases (Friday) night," Schob said. "The scary thing is how young they are."
For the game, Athens had two receivers over 100 yards and a running back over 100 while Burrow threw for over 400. With the exception of senior Skylar Schwarzel, who had 111 yards receiving and three scores, the others are all sophomores.
Warren strung together its final scoring drive in the third quarter, when the Warriors took advantage of a brief resurgence in the ground game behind senior Austin Kuhn.
Kuhn had three strong runs and Leffingwell connected a pair of passes to bring the Warriors to the Bulldogs' 5-yard line. On a second down play, Leffingwell then scrambled into the endzone to make the score 60-14 in favor of Athens.
The rushing success on that drive was the only real gains for the Warriors in the game, as Warren managed just 55 yards rushing on 32 carries. The Warriors also managed to complete just 18-of-38 passes for 138 yards, as Leffingwell was 18-for-35 with the one score.
Conversely, Athens averaged 8.4 yards per rush and 25.5 yards per completion.
"They have better athletes at certain positions and we couldn't match up," Schob lamented.
Athens improved to 2-1 while Warren fell to 1-2 on the season.