ALBANY, Ohio — It’s hard to say which was better on Friday night, River Valley’s offense or its defense. Either way it was a good night to be a Raider.
The River Valley football team outgained Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division host Alexander 366-to-74 in total offense, in Athens County on Friday, as the Raiders rolled to a 50-7 victory.
River Valley (5-2, 2-2 TVC Ohio) scored the game’s first touchdown at the 7:45 mark of the opening quarter, as junior quarterback Patrick Brown found Jaykob Mabe for a four-yard scoring completion. Tre Craycraft ran in the two-point conversion, giving the Silver and Black a 7-0 lead.
Exactly 2:30 later, the Raiders were in the end zone again. This time, Patrick Brown found Craycraft for a 34-yard TD pass, which — with Devin McDonald’s successful extra-point kick — gave the guests a 14-point lead.
River Valley’s first quarter stampede wasn’t over yet, however, as with 2:56 left in the stanza, Dylan Brown scored on a one-yard run. McDonald made the extra-point and the Raiders led 22-0 at the end of the first.
Just 22 seconds into the second period, the Raiders were in the end zone again, as Patrick Brown connected with Craycraft for a 23-yard scoring pass. After another 1:18, RVHS scored another touchdown, this time on a 12-yard run by sophomore Jacob Campbell.
River Valley added one more touchdown in the first half, as Craycraft found paydirt on a six-yard run with 1:29 left in second quarter. McDonald made 3-of-3 extra points and the Raiders led 43-0 at halftime.
With a running clock in the second half, per OHSAA rule, neither team scored in the third quarter. River Valley went ahead 50-0 with 8:36 left in the game, as Cole Young broke a 33-yard TD run and McDonald made the point-after kick.
Alexander (1-6, 0-4) finally got on the board with 3:10 left, as Kaleb Easley scored on a nine-yard run. Brendon Niggemeyer made the extra-point kick, putting the final touches on River Valley’s 50-7 victory.
For the game, River Valley held a 16-to-8 upper hand in first downs, a 224-to-27 advantage in rushing yards and a 142-to-57 edge in passing yards. The Raiders also finished plus-2 in the turnover category, intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble. RVHS was penalized seven times for 63 yards, while the hosts were sent back six times for a total of 39 yards.
Patrick Brown — who rushed five times for 31 yards — completed 9-of-11 passes for 142 yards with three touchdowns. Craycraft caught five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing three times for 12 yards and another score. Layne Fitch hauled in three passes for 13 yards, while Mabe caught one four-yard TD pass and ran three times for a total of 12 yards.
Young led the Silver and Black on the ground with 78 yards and a score on four carries, while Campbell added 45 yards and a touchdown on seven tries. Colton Provens ran twice for a total of 28 yards, Gabe Stapleton added 19 yards on six carries, while Dylan Brown ran once for a one-yard touchdown.
For the Spartans, A.J. Marks — who ran 10 times for a total of 13 yards — completed 7-of-17 passes for 57 yards. Chace Harris hauled in a team-best two passes for 34 yards, while Alex Stalder led the Spartans on the ground with 17 yards on three tries.
Despite the setback, Alexander is still 9-4 against RVHS in the last 13 meetings. Since River Valley joined the TVC Ohio, the series between the Raiders and Spartans is tied at 2-2.
The Silver and Black will try for their third straight win on Friday night, when the 3-4 Vinton County Vikings invade Bidwell.
Alexander — which has now dropped six straight decisions — will have a tall task ahead of it next, as the Spartans visit 5-2 Nelsonville-York, which has won four straight games.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.