BIDWELL, Ohio — Visiting Athens shut out host River Valley 26-0 in the first half and eventually rolled to 39-7 victory Friday night in a Week 9 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division contest on Senior Night at Raider Stadium.
The Raiders (3-6, 1-5 TVC Ohio) went three-and-out on the opening drive of the game and punted the ball to Athens (8-1, 5-0 TVC Ohio), giving them possession at the AHS 49-yard line.
Within three plays, Evan Adams ran a four-yard touchdown run and a failed PAT gave Athens a 6-0 lead.
After another failed conversion for a first down, the Raiders once again punted the ball to Athens. With 7:59 remaining in the first quarter, Clay Davis connected with Treyce Albin on a 27-yard touchdown pass and another failed PAT led to a 12-0 Bulldog lead.
Athens was on its way to score another touchdown, but the Silver and Black defense stood up and forced Athens to a change of downs on River Valley’s own two-yard line.
Following an intercepted pass, Athens started the early moments of the second period with the ball at the Raiders 39-yard line.
At the 9:55 mark, Albin ran for an 11-yard touchdown run for an 18-0 lead. With 4:58 remaining in the first half, Clay Davis connected with Albin on an 83-yard touchdown pass. A successful two-point conversion run by Mikel Castell gave a 26-0 halftime advantage.
At the start of the third quarter, the Raider defense forced a fumble at the Athens 22-yard line. However, the Bulldogs defense turned around and caused the Raider offense to a change of downs.
With 5:39 remaining in the third quarter, Adams ran for a five-yard touchdown and a successful PAT by Drake George gave the Green and Gold a 33-0 advantage by the end of the third quarter.
The Raiders made some noise of their own at the start of the fourth quarter as senior Gabe Stapleton rushed for a 38-yard touchdown. A successful PAT by Colton Gilmore, the Silver and Black enclosed the lead of the Bulldogs to 33-7.
With 6:47 remaining in the game, Corbin Stalder scampered for 35 yards and completed the score of 39-7.
It was the final home football game for Ben Arrowood, Dustin Barber, Patrick Brown, Jay Combs, Andrew Eleam, Lucas Fitch, Zach Long, Jarret McCarley and Gabe Stapleton in the Silver and Black.
Jordan Burns led the Raiders in passing with 10-for-19 for 63 yards and three interceptions. Gabe Stapleton led the hosts with seven carries for 61 yards and one touchdown.
Dustin Barber led River Valley in receiving with five grabs for 39 yards, while Reese had two receptions for 16 yards.
The hosts had seven first downs, three penalties for 15 yards and a team total of 104 yards of offense.
Clay Davis led the Bulldogs in passing with 10-for-19 for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Stalder led AHS with even carries for 123 yards, while Adams added 17 touches for 96 yards
Albin led the Green and Gold in receiving with three receptions for 115 yards, while Nate Trainer added three receptions for 32 yards.
The Bulldogs had 25 first downs, six penalties for 60 yards and 530 yards of total offense.
The Raiders travel to the Waverly Tigers (6-3) next Friday for their season finale in a non-conference matchup.
The Bulldogs will host the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0) on Friday in a winner-take-all TVC Ohio Divisional contest.
J.P. Davis is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.