WELLSTON, Ohio — Travis Jayjohn converted a two-point run in overtime to give the Wellston Golden Rockets a thrilling 45-43 win over the Meigs Marauders Friday night in a Week 9 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division contest at C.H. Jones Field in Jackson County.
Jayjohn’s fourth touchdown of the night tied the game at 43-all in the overtime period, setting the stage for his winning conversion.
The game was a nail-biter all the way, with Meigs scoring on the game’s final play to pull to within two. Zach Bartrum drove much of the Golden Rockets defense into the end zone on the PAT try to force the overtime period.
The Golden Rockets received the opening kickoff and put together a 13-play, 65-yard drive with Rylan Molihan scoring from 19 yards out. Chase Ingalls added the extra points for a 7-0 Wellston lead at the 7:03 mark of the period.
The lead didn’t last long however as Cole Adams took the Wellston kickoff and went virtually untouched 80 yards for the score. It was the third time this season that Adams has returned an opponent’s kickoff for a score. Cory Cox hit Zach Bartrum for the extra points and an 8-7 Marauder lead.
The Marauders went for an onside kick and Bailey Caruthers recovered for Meigs at the Wellston 38. Seven plays later, Lane Cullums plowed in from the one yard line. David Robson added the extra points and Meigs was on top 15-7.
On the first play of the second period, Jayjohn scored on a 44-yard scamper. Molihan added the extra point to tie the game at 15. Wellston took a 21-15 lead into the locker room when Zach Dress capped off a nine-play, 73-yard drive with a four-yard run at the 4:42 mark.
Wellston took a 29-15 lead in the third period when Jayjohn scored from 10 yards out. Jayjohn added the extra points for the 14-point Golden Rocket lead with 6:25 left.
Meigs cut into the Wellston lead with 2:40 left in the third when Zach Helton hit freshman Abe Lundy for a 28-yard scoring toss to pull to within 29-21.
Meigs tied the game with 5:52 left when Bartrum scored from four yards out capping a 11-play, 83-yard drive. Helton hit Wesley Smith, who made a sliding catch in the end zone, for the extra points and tied the game at 29.
Back came the Golden Rockets, however, as Jayjohn gave Wellston a lead with a 28-yard dash. Jayjohn tacked on the extra points for a 37-29 lead with 3:02 remaining in the contest.
After a short kickoff return, Meigs took over at their own 38 with 2:52 left. With Bartrum doing the damage on the ground and Helton in the air, Meigs drove to the Golden Rocket 10 with three seconds left.
On third and goal, Helton faked a handoff to Bartrum and eventually found him in the end zone for the score. With no time left, Meigs still had to score the extra points to force a tie. Bartrum out of the Wildcat formation drove up the middle and dove into the end zone for the score to tie the game at 37-all.
In overtime, Meigs received the ball first and Helton hit Adams on third and goal from three yards out for the score. The extra points were stopped short and Wellston took over.
Jayjohn carried the ball on six out of the seven WHS plays in OT, including the final five yards that tied the game at 43.
At first, Wellston elected to kick the extra points, but the Marauders were offside, so after the ball was moved half the distance. Jayjohn crashed over goal line on the ensuing snap with the winning score.
Jayjohn was the workhorse for the Golden Rockets, carrying 35 times for 297 yards. Nick David added 51 in nine tries. Michael Graham was 2-of-10 in the air for 20 yards. Molihan caught one pass for 10 and Jayjohn had one grab for five.
Bartrum led the Marauders with 153 yards in 29 carries, Lane Cullums added 32 in five and Helton 32 in 11.
Helton was 13-of-18 in the air for 117 yards, while Bartrum caught six passes for 63 yards and Adams had two catches for 16 yards.
Wellston (5-4, 3-2 TVC Ohio) will travel to Vinton County next week to play the Vikings, while Meigs (3-6, 2-3) hosts Alexander in the season’s final contest next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.