BIDWELL, Ohio — So much for gracious guests.
Visiting Meigs forced five turnovers and racked up a season-high 410 yards of total offense Friday night, as the Marauders ruined opening night festivities at the new River Valley athletic facility following a 46-18 decision in a Week 3 non-conference football contest in Gallia County.
The Marauders (1-2) handed first-year frontman Mike Bartrum his first-ever varsity coaching victory, and do so in dominant fashion after leading wire-to-wire in the contest. Meigs led 12-0 after one quarter and took an 18-6 edge into halftime before outscoring the Raiders (1-2) by a 28-12 clip in the second half, giving MHS its ninth straight decision over the hosts.
The Marauders wasted little time getting on the scoreboard after a defensive stop, as the guests produced points on their very first play from scrimmage. Michael Davis hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass from Ty Phelps on a halfback pass, allowing Meigs to take an early 6-0 edge with 8:52 remaining in the opening canto.
After another defensive stop, the Marauders increased their lead to a dozen points at the 1:08 mark after Dillon Boyer capped a six-play, 80-yard drive with a 57-yard scamper — giving MHS a 12-0 cushion after one period of play.
River Valley finally broke into the scoring column midway through the second stanza, as Kyle Brown found paydirt on a 12-yard run with 5:34 left in the half. Brown’s scoring run capped a five-play, 43-yard drive that cut the Raider deficit in half at 12-6.
The last of River Valley’s two first half turnovers proved costly, as a fumble on a completed pass gave the guests the ball at the hosts’ 25-yard line with 2:29 left in the half. Seven plays and 25 yards later, Boyer scored on a second-effort plunge from a yard out to give Meigs an 18-6 edge with just one second remaining before the intermission.
Boyer added his third and final score of the night with an eight-yard scoring run, capping a six-play, 33-yard drive that gave MHS a 25-6 lead with 4:59 left in the third quarter.
Andrew Burt extended that third quarter lead to 32-6 with 45 seconds remaining after bullying his way in from a yard out, capping a 10-play, 68-yard drive just before the start of the final period.
The Raiders responded with a seven-play, 58-yard scoring drive that came to fruition with 10:48 left in regulation, as Austin Whobrey scrambled in from a yard out to pull the hosts to within 32-12.
Meigs answered with a seven-play, 56-yard scoring drive that ended with a seven-yard scoring pass to Davis from Kaileb Sheets — giving Meigs a 39-12 advantage with 6:58 left in the contest.
The Raiders responded with a three-play, 62-yard scoring drive that ended at the 6:10 mark after Brown hauled in a 42-yard TD pass from Dayton Hardway — allowing RVHS to cut the deficit down to 39-18.
Burt added his second rushing TD and the final score of the night with 3:58 remaining, plunging in from three yards out to wrap up four-play, 37-yard drive that brought the game to its 46-18 finale.
River Valley committed all five turnovers in the contest, including three fumbles and two interceptions. The Raiders, however, did manage a small 22-21 edge in first downs on the night.
Meigs had 269 rushing yards on 47 attempts and added another 141 yards through the air, while RVHS mustered 137 rushing yards on 39 carries and another 245 passing yards for 382 total yards of offense. The hosts were flagged 11 times for 80 yards, while the Marauders were penalized 12 times for 75 yards.
Boyer led the Meigs rushing attack with 17 carries for 130 yards, while Davis added 45 yards on eight attempts. Ty Phelps also had seven carries for 34 yards in the triumph, as well as one completed pass for 54 yards and a score.
Sheets finished the night 6-of-10 passing for 87 yards and also had one TD completion. Austin Welch led the MHS wideouts with two catches for 62 yards, followed by Davis with two grabs for 61 yards. Sheets was also 4-of-5 on point-after kicks.
Brown led the Raiders with a game-high 146 rushing yards on 27 carries, followed by Hardway with two attempts for six yards. Hardway finished the night 8-of-10 passing for 138 yards, while Whobrey went 9-of-18 passing for 107 yards. Both Whobrey and Hardway threw one interception apiece in the setback.
Chris Clemente led the RVHS wideouts with nine catches for 110 yards, while Tyler Twyman had two grabs for 44 yards. The Raiders had seven different receivers make at least one catch in the contest.
Cody Stewart recorded two sacks for the Meigs defense, while Austin Welch and Devon Cundiff each came away with an interception in the victory.
Meigs returns to road action next Friday when it travels to Glouster for a non-conference matchup against Trimble, while the Raiders will try again at home next weekend when they host Nelsonville-York. Both contests will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.