BIDWELL, Ohio — Cole Young carried 37 times for 268 yards and three touchdowns, while Jared Reese chipped in with 125 yards on 20 tries and three scores to lead the River Valley Raiders to a 41-25 win over the Meigs Marauders Friday evening at Raider Field.
The win made it a happy Homecoming for the Raiders, and ended years of frustration with the Marauders. The win was the first by River Valley over the Maroon and Gold since September 5, 2003, and was the fourth by the Raiders in the 26-game history between the two schools.
The Raiders took the opening kickoff and drove 62 yards in six plays with Reese scoring from 14 yards out at the 9:25 mark of the period. Young made it 12-0 with a four yard dash at the 2:56 mark.
The Silver and Black increased the lead to 20-0 when Young capped off a seven play, 81 yard drive with a 45 yard run with 8:59 remaining.
Meigs cut into the lead just three plays later when Abe Lundy caught a Coulter Cleland pass over the middle and he took it 84 yards for the score. Caleb Burnem added the extra points to pull Meigs to within 20-7.
But River Valley came right back however and drove 54 yards in eight plays, with Young scoring from seven yards out. Trae Russell added the extra points and the Raiders took a 27-7 lead into the locker room at the half.
Things got a little chippy between the two schools in the third period, as tempers flared after a Raider personal foul, and both teams had a player ejected. That seemed to fire up the Marauders as three plays later, Cleland hit Wyatt Hoover with a 69 yard scoring toss to cut the Raider lead to 27-13 at the 11:14 mark of the third period.
The Marauder defense forced a three and out, that set up Cleland’s third scoring pass of the night as Lundy scored on an 11 yard toss. The Raiders increased the lead when Reese scored from four yards out with 2:45 left in the period, Russell added the extra points for a 34-19 advantage.
The Marauders cut it to a nine point Raider advantage when Cleland hit Noah Metzger out of the backfield for 42 yards and a score with 4:52 left in the contest.
The Raiders closed out the scoring with just 29 seconds left when Reese scored from 16 yards, Colton Gilmore added the extra points to give the Raiders the 41-25 win.
After the game, RVHS coach Jason Peck spoke about the significance of not only this first win — but also this group’s ability to end one of the longest losing skids against an opponent in school history.
And, as he noted, it certainly provides some confidence moving into the second half of the season.
“It’s hard to find a starting point to describe this feeling because it’s all over the place. The kids were hungry for a win and they wanted to play well on Homecoming, and they did that … especially against a team that we haven’t had much success against lately. Our kids definitely made their mark tonight,” Peck said. “We didn’t attempt a single pass and we had over 400 yards on the ground, and that is a statement. I think we found our identity tonight and they are really starting to believe in what we are doing here. We are excited about playing football right now and we have some confidence headed into the second half of the season. I’m really proud of our guys for not giving up and how they responded tonight. It’s a big step in the right direction.”
Cole Young was the workhorse for River Valley with 37 carries for 268 yards, and Reese added 125 in 20. Ryan Jones added 33 in nine tries, as the Raiders rolled up 428 total yards, all on the ground.
Cleland was outstanding himself, as the sophomore hit 12 of 24 in the air for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Coulter also led the Marauder ground attack with 54 yards on 12 carries, Hoover caught five passes for 112 yards, Lundy three for 104, Cam Burnem one for 58, Metzger one for 42 and Jake McElroy added a catch for 11.
The Raiders (1-4, 1-1 TVC Ohio) will travel to Wellston next Friday, while Meigs (1-4, 0-2) will return home to play Nelsonville-York.
Ohio Valley Publishing sports editor Bryan Walters contributed to this report.
Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.