BIDWELL, Ohio — Another River Valley Homecoming. Another loss for the host Raiders.
River Valley dropped its fifth straight gridiron decision on Homecoming Friday night following a 28-6 setback to previously winless Rock Hill in a Week 8 Ohio Valley Conference matchup in Gallia County.
The host Raiders (1-7, 0-3 OVC) never led in the contest and were outgained in total yards by a 423-254 overall margin, and the Redmen attempted only one pass the entire night — which came on a successful two-point conversion.
Rock Hill (1-7, 1-2) — which ended an eight-game losing streak — led 8-0 at the intermission and forced RVHS into committing three second-half turnovers, which helped the guests keep the clock running with a lead. RHHS finished the night plus-1 in turnover differential and also had a nearly 4-to-1 ratio in rushing yards.
After a three-and-out by the Raiders to start the game, Rock Hill marched 81 yards in nine plays for the only score of the first half. Redmen quarterback Gabe Marzicola rumbled 52 yards to paydirt with 5:11 remaining in the opening quarter for an early 6-0 edge.
RHHS went for two and converted on a halfback option, as Chance Blankenship took a pitch, rolled right and threw a strike to Austin Collins for an 8-0 Rock Hill advantage.
Neither team scored again in the first half, and neither team committed a turnover before the break. Rock Hill had a small 7-5 edge in first downs and a 143-121 advantage in total offensive yards at halftime.
Rock Hill’s final punt of the night came on its opening drive of the third quarter, and the Raiders made the most of their ensuing possession — which started at the RVHS 43-yard line. The hosts marched 57 yards in six plays to get to paydirt, capped by a 13-yard scoring run by Kyle Brown with six minutes left in the canto.
River Valley went for two on its PAT chance and came up short on a pass attempt, allowing Rock Hill to maintain an 8-6 advantage midway through the third. The Raiders never came closer the rest of the way.
The Redmen retaliated with an eight-play, 81-yard scoring drive on their next possession, capped off by a 28-yard scamper by Shane Harper at the 1:43 mark for a 14-6 cushion. Harper — who bounced off two RVHS defenders on his up-the-middle TD run — added a successful run on the two-point conversion to give the guests a 16-6 lead.
RHHS again took over possession just moments before the third quarter ended, then went 92 yards in nine plays to establish a 22-6 advantage. Chance Blankenship scored on a 26-yard run with 7:43 left in regulation, but the two-point conversion was stopped to keep the game at two possessions.
And then, the turnovers came to life.
River Valley put together a drive that started at its own 22 and the hosts moved the ball down to the RHHS 39-yard line. Dayton Hardway completed an 18-yard pass to Chris Clemente, but Rock Hill jarred the ball loose after the catch and recovered the fumble at its own 17 with 6:20 remaining.
The Redmen ran a little over three minutes off the clock before a Harper fumble gave the Raiders the ball back at the guests 36 with 3:16 left. RVHS, however, missed three straight passes and came up four yards short of a first down before losing the ball on downs with 2:48 showing.
Harper redeemed himself on his next carry from scrimmage, rumbling 79 yards to paydirt with 2:10 left in regulation for a 28-6 score. Harper’s second TD run of the night capped a three-play, 83-yard drive that also concluded the scoring.
River Valley threw interceptions on its next two drives, while Rock Hill committed a fumble in between those takeaways. RHHS took a knee with its final play of the night to put an end to their winless 2012 campaign.
The Redmen outgained the Raiders by a 280-133 margin in the second half and also claimed a 12-9 advantage in first downs after the break. Overall, Rock Hill gained a 19-14 edge in first downs and committed four second-half penalties for 50 yards, compared to eight flags for 59 yards for the hosts. RVHS also had four punts in the setback, twice as many as the visitors.
River Valley amassed 107 rushing yards on 22 attempts and added another 147 yards through the air. The hosts had only three rushes for double-digit yardage, while the Redmen more than tripled that total with 10 runs of 10 yards or more. RVHS also had five pass plays go for 10-or-more yards.
Brown led the RVHS rushing attack with 67 yards on 16 carries, followed by Hardway with 33 yards on five totes. Austin Davies also had one run for seven yards.
Hardway finished the night 11-of-27 passing for 147 yards to go with two interceptions. Austin Bradley led the wideouts with four catches for 75 yards, followed by Davies with three grabs for 27 yards. Clemente (18), Brown (6), Ethan Dovenbarger (12) and Jacob Leach (9) also hauled in one pass apiece.
Rock Hill finished the night with 423 rushing yards, with Harper leading the way with 224 yards on 25 carries. Chance Blankenship was next with 137 yards on 21 tries, while Marzicola added five totes for 48 yards. Jordan Blagg had five tries for 11 yards, Corey Depriest had two carries for three yards and Brandon Blankenship had one rush for zero yards.
Tyler Twyman and Justin Mabe had fumble recoveries for the Raiders, who haven’t won a Homecoming contest since beating Alexander 29-6 in Week 4 of the 2007 campaign. RVHS has also dropped seven straight decision overall this fall.
Chance Blankenship had a fumble recovery and an interception for the guests, while Austin Collins also came up with an interception in the triumph.
River Valley returns to OVC action next Friday when it hosts South Point on Alumni Night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.