ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — Justin Heatherington scored three touchdowns, one each on the ground and receiving along with a 35-yard interception return to lead the powerful St. Clairsville Red Devils to a 34-14 win over Meigs Saturday evening in Belmont County.
The game was called at the beginning at the third period due to severe lightning in the area. After the two teams waited close to an hour with no change in the weather, it was decided to call the game.
The play of Heatherington overshadowed another outstanding performance by Meigs quarterback Coulter Cleland. Cleland — a 6-foot, 165 pound freshman coming off a 240-yard passing performance last week at Gallia Academy — threw for 175 yards and two scores.
Meigs received the opening kickoff and was forced to punt on fourth down. Coach Mike Bartrum reached into his bag of tricks with a fake punt, but a Marauder penalty nullified the play.
Four plays later, Dustin Carrothers hit Heatherington from 38 yards out and the score. Jake Bolyard was true on his kick and the Red Devils held the 7-0 lead at the 10:42 mark of the first period.
Heatherington added another score with 6:59 left in the period on an 15-yard run, capped off by a Bolyard extra point. Bolyard added an 28-yard field goal with 1:24 left in the period to increase the Red Devil lead to 17-0 at the end of one period.
Cole Adams returned the ensuing kickoff 28 yards. Five plays later, with Meigs facing a first and 10 at the Red Devil 47, Cleland hit Adams with a long pass down the sideline for the score. The extra point attempt was no good, but Meigs was on the scoreboard 17-6 on the last play of the first period.
St. Clairsville drove to the Marauder 28, but the maroon and gold defense stiffened and held on downs.
On first down, however, Heatherington picked off a Cleland pass and took it 35 yards for the score. Bolyard added the extra point for a 24-7 lead.
Bolyard added his second field goal of the night, this one from 31 yards out, for a 27-6 advantage with 6:22 left in the half.
Adams gave Meigs great field position with a 62-yard kickoff return to the St. Clairsville 33. Five plays later, Cleland hit Zach Bartrum from 15 yards out for the score. Adams pulled in a Cleland pass for the extra points to cut the Red Devil lead to 27-14 with 3:23 left.
The Red Devils countered by driving into Marauder territory and Heatherington added his third score of the night from eight yards out. Bolyard added the extra points and the teams went into the locker room with the Red Devils on top 34-14.
Meigs received the kickoff to begin the second half and ran one play before the game was suspended due to the weather. After waiting close to an hour with no change in the weather, officials decided to call the game.
Brady Kolb led the Red Devils with 93 yards in 10 tries. Heatherington added with 52 yards in eight carries. Dustin Carrothers was 6-of-18 in the air for 101 yards. Heatherington caught two for 48 and Craig Bober added two grabsfor 47.
Cleland was 13-of-19 in the air with two interceptions for 175 yards. Zach Bartrum caught six for 51 yards and Weston Baer added five receptions for 57 yards. Ty Bartrum caught four for 21 and Adams had one for 47.
Abe Lundy led Meigs with 13 yards rushing in four carries.
The young Marauders will open their home portion of the schedule Friday when they host Logan.
Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.