ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Back in the summer of 1967, three small schools consolidated while preparing for their inaugural football season in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League.
Not much was known about the team that featured players from former arch rivals Middleport and Pomeroy, and along with Rutland, what was known was that the SEOAL featured perennial powers from Athens, Gallipolis, Logan and Jackson.
At the helm of the young team was a young college coach named Charles Chancey, which the new school now called Meigs snatched from Marshall University. Chancey was no stranger to the area as he led Pomeroy to a 26-12-2 record from the years of 1960-1964.
But what lied ahead for the maroon and gold was still a question mark. Would the three schools, including two fierce rivals, be able to mesh into on unit during the few short weeks of practice under the hot August sun?
On September 8th, fans packed the natural bowl football field nestled in the hollow just off Main Street in Pomeroy. The opponent wasn’t just any team, it was the Wahama White Falcons, a school that sat just at the end of the Pomeroy-Mason Bridge in West Virginia.
The White Falcons had played their three Ohio neighbors a total of 73 times over the years, so it wasn’t like they were strangers.
The Marauders defeated Wahama 20-0 for the school’s first win. After a 36-0 win over the Fairfield School for Boys, Meigs played its first game on the road against the powerful Athens Bulldogs. Athens had a long conference winning streak, so the young Marauders had their backs against the wall.
It was a contest that longtime Marauder fans still talk about as Meigs had a goal line stand late in the contest and nearly drove the length of the field to stun the standing room only crowd after defeating the Bulldogs 12-8.
The next week the Marauders rolled in to Gallipolis to upset yet another team 8-6. Meigs defeated Logan 14-8 and Wellston 14-6. The young Marauders were 6-0 on the season and lost their only game an 8-0 contest to Ironton in a non-conference encounter.
Meigs then traveled to power Jackson and put one of the worst beatings on the Ironmen in recent history 50-14, to clinch a tie for the SEOAL title. Another of the conference’s newly consolidated schools rolled into town in week nine.
The Marauders had no problems with Nelsonville-York defeat the Buckeyes 28-0 to do what many 10 weeks before was the impossible clinch the 1967 SEOAL football crown.
Meigs ended their season the next week defeating Parkersburg South 36-0 to finish the season at 9-1.
That first Marauder football team will be honored on Friday, August 25, when the Marauders open the 2017 season at home against Gallipolis … as the Meigs football family celebrates the team’s 50-year anniversary.
Efforts have been made to find addresses for members of that team, but of course after 50 years it is tough to do. If you played, or know the addresses of the players on that team please contact assistant coach Jeff McElroy at 740-416-9631.
Freshman players on the team will be honored as well.
The 1967 team will be honored at the game and will serve as honorary captains for the Marauders. Other surprises for the ceremony are expected. Please RSVP to Coach McElroy before August 1, if possible, with a number of tickets needed for the game. And please try and come and reminisce in the first year of Meigs football.
Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.