BIDWELL, Ohio — Meigs opened up a 32-0 lead in the second period, and for the second year in a row held off a River Valley comeback to post a 45-28 win over the Raiders.
The win for the Marauders is the 14th straight over their Gallia County neighbors and is the second win in a row for the maroon and gold this season.
Meigs took the opening kickoff and junior Cole Adams appeared to have his second kickoff return for a score in three weeks, but a Marauder penalty took the points off the board. It is also the second time this season that Adams had a kickoff return for a score negated.
Less the two minutes later, however, the Marauders took the lead when Lane Cullums went up the middle 44 yards for the score, and Meigs held the early 6-0 lead at the 10:07 mark.
On first down, Adams picked off a Patrick Brown pass at the Marauders 47. But, just three plays later, Meigs gave the ball up on a fumble.
The Raiders put together a good drive, moving to the Marauder 13, but on third and seven, Brown’s pass to Dustin Barber lost a yard. Colton Gilmore was called on to try a 31-yard field goal and Landon Acree blocked the attempt for the Marauders.
Three plays and two Meigs penalties gave Meigs a third and 35 at their own 10. Sophomore Cory Cox hit Weston Baer over the middle, Baer broke a tackle at about the 30, spun out of the grasp of a pair of Raider defenders around the 50, broke out in the clear and went 90 yards for the score to make it a 12-0 contest.
Once again the Raiders were driving, picking up a first and goal at the Meigs nine. Matthew Brown picked off a Brown pass and returned it 10 yards for Meigs to the 13.
Three plays later, Zach Bartrum went 86 yards only to be caught by a Raider defender who had the angle on him at the Raider two. Two plays later, Bartrum went over from the one and freshman Jake Kennedy added the extra points for a 19-0 Meigs lead.
The Marauders forced a three and out, another Marauder penalty negated a good Bartrum return and placed the ball at the Meigs 15. The Marauders went on a 13-play, 85-yard drive with Cullums going the final 15 for the score. Once again, Kennedy added the extra points and a 26-0 Marauder lead with 2:08 left.
Another three and out by the Raiders gave Meigs the ball at their own 40 with 2:08 left in the half. Cox went 4-for-6 in the drive and hit Bartrum with a pass from 22 yards out for the score and a 32-0 Meigs lead with 43 seconds left.
But, to the Raiders credit, they didn’t fold. After a 21-yard kickoff return by Josh Farmer gave the Raiders good field position, Brown went to the air completing two in a row, the last one to Jarret McCarley from 42 yards out and the score on the last play of the half to make it a 32-6 contest.
The Raiders started to make things interesting in the third period. After receiving the second half kickoff, it took just three plays for the Raiders to score. Brown once again found McCarley from 42 yards out and a score. Colton Gilmore made it 31-13 with 10:48 left in the third period.
A suddenly fired up Raider defense held Meigs to another three and out. Meigs went for the fake punt, but Bartrum’s pass to Baer was low and the Raiders were in business at the Meigs 35.
Seven plays later, Cole Young took it in from a yard out. Gilmore made the extra points and suddenly it was 32-20 in favor of Meigs with 7:04 left in the period.
Meigs increased the lead to 38-20 when Cox hit Bailey Caruthers from 12 yards out with 7:45 left in the contest, capping off a nine-play, 75-yard drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock.
But once again the Raiders came right back with a 20-play drive. The Raiders drove to the Meigs five and picked up a first down. A dead ball personal foul, however, followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct on the Raiders moved the ball to the Marauder 31. Four straight plays netted four yards and Meigs took over on downs.
On third play, Cox once again hit his classmate Baer who broke it for 72 yards to the Raider seven. Two plays later, Bartrum scored from 10 yards out. Kennedy made it a 45-20 contest with just 1:54 left.
Once again the Raiders came back. On first down, Brown hit Layne Fitch from 29 yards, and one play later Brown hit McCarley from 39 yards and the score. Brown added the extra points to close out the scoring with 1:21 left and a 45-28 Marauder win.
The Marauder offense rolled up 608 yards on the night, 301 yards on the ground and 3-7 in the air.
Cory Cox, who began the season as a third team quarterback, was 13 of 20 in the air for 307 yards and three scores.
Baer caught four passes for 185 yards, Cole Adams had four catches for 71 yards, Bailey Caruthers added three for 26 and Zach Bartrum two for 27.
For the second week in a row, the Marauders had two players rush for 100 yards, Bartrum had 17 carries for 179 yards and Cullums added 115 in 14.
Brown was 23 of 35 in the air for 264 yards and three interceptions. Layne Fitch caught 10 passes for 85 yards, McCarley added five for 108. Brown led the Raiders on the ground with 74 yards in 15 carries.
Meigs (3-2) is 2-1 in the TVC Ohio Division and will host Nelsonville-York in its homecoming contest next week. River Valley (1-4) drops to 0-2 in the TVC Ohio and will travel to Wellston.
Dave Harris is a Sports Correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing