McARTHUR, Ohio — A long time coming.
The River Valley football team claimed a 30-12 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division host Vinton County on Friday night, securing the Raiders first winning season since 2003.
The Raiders (6-2, 4-2 TVC Ohio) lost fumbles in Vinton County (1-7, 0-4) territory on their first two possessions, the second one was returned 71-yards for six points by Brett Haislop. However, the Vikings missed the point after attempt, but led 6-0.
River Valley answered on the ensuing drive, covering 59 yards in seven plays. The Raider drive was capped off by a 19-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Dayton Hardway to fellow senior Kirk Morrow. RVHS failed to add the extra point and the game was tied at six.
The Silver and Black defense forced its second three-and-out of the night, forcing the Vikings to punt. RVHS senior George Williams blocked the Vinton County punt, and returned it for a touchdown which, with a successful two-point conversion, gave the Raiders a 14-6 lead at the end of the first.
The Vikings coughed up the football on their own 23-yard line at the start of the second period, which led to a 24-yard field goal by RVHS senior Mark Wray. River Valley held the lead 17-6 lead at halftime.
The Raiders expanded their lead early in the second half, as Hardway found Morrow for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Wray’s extra-point kick capped off the eight-play, 63-yard drive and gave the Silver and Black a 24-6 lead.
Hardway connected with Morrow for a third touchdown in the final stanza, this time from 65 yards out. The point after kick failed, but the Raiders led 30-6 in the fourth quarter.
Aided by a trio of RVHS personal fouls, Vinton County found the endzone one more time in the game, as Naylen Yates found Haislop for an 8-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion attempt was stuffed and the Raiders claimed victory by a 30-12 count.
Hardway completed 12-of-19 passes for 217 yards and three scores for River Valley, while rushing 12 times for 16 yards. Morrow, who carried the ball twice for a total of 40 yards, caught five passes for 138 yards and three scores. Wray caught two passes for 27 yards, while rushing 10 times for 35 yards.
Yates completed 5-of-13 pass attempts for 52 yards and a touchdown for Vinton County, while rushing seven times for a total of three yards. Haislop had one eight-yard catch for a touchdown and one rush of 38 yards, while Bo McIntire hauled in three passes for 42 yards.
River Valley, which is a perfect 4-0 on the road this season, returns to action on Friday when Athens visits Bidwell. The Raiders will be going for a program record seventh win.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.