RACINE, Ohio — Meigs senior Wyatt Hoover accounted for 303 total yards, scored four touchdowns and added another through the air while leading the Meigs Marauders to a 48-13 win over a scrappy Southern team Friday night at Roger Lee Adams Memorial Field.
Hoover, who started the season at wide receiver, switched to a wildcat style quarterback for the Marauders after a season-ending injury to Coulter Cleland. Hoover rushed for 192 yards, threw for 75 and added an 80 yard interception return to end his career on a high note.
The contest was added to the schedule recently during this strange COVID-19 season, after a Tornado opponent opted out of a game. The Marauders (4-5) were defeated in the playoffs two weeks ago, thus creating an open date. It was only the third time the two Meigs County neighbors have met on the gridiron, with the Marauders winning all three.
The Marauders were their own worst enemy to start the contest. Senior Zach Searles took the opening kickoff 81 yards for an apparent touchdown, but a Marauder block in the back nullified the score.
On first down Hoover ripped off a 26 yard run, but another penalty moved the ball back. But two plays later, Hoover kept the ball around right end and went 69 yards for the score. Matt Barr, who was five of six on extra points, gave the maroon and gold a 7-0 lead at the 10:39 mark.
The Tornadoes (2-7) came right back, driving 50 yards in 13 plays and scored when Chase Bailey hit Blake Shain with a perfect 11 yard scoring toss. Luke Mullen added the extra point to tie the game at 7-all with 6:04 left in the first.
Searles put the Marauders in good field position with a 32 yard return on the kickoff, then three plays later it was Hoover once again on a keeper going 47 yards for the score.
Meigs increased the lead to 21-7 at the 1:23 mark of the period, when Hoover hit Morgan Roberts who made a leaping catch. Roberts broke several tackles and cut back across the field going 75 yards for the score.
Hoover scored from 16 yards out, capping off a nine play, 63 yard drive to make it 28-7 with 7:49 left in the half.
Hoover hit paydirt again, this time on the defensive side when he picked off a pass, broke a couple tackles and went 80 yards for the score and a 34-7 Marauder advantage with 4:02 left in the half.
But to the credit of head coach Cassady Willford and the Tornadoes, who refused to quit the entire game, Southern came right back driving 54 yards in eight plays — with Bailey going the final two yards with just 6.8 seconds left in the half to make it 34-13 at intermission.
Meigs increased the lead to 41-13 with 9:59 left in the third period, with Kolten Thomas hitting Hoover with a picture perfect 36 yard pass to the Southern six. On first down senior Josh Smith with the first carry of his career scored the touchdown.
The Marauders capped off the scoring with 6:32 left in the third when Abe Lundy scored from 11 yards out.
Hoover led all rushers with nine carries for 192 yards, Lundy added 40 in seven tries, Andrew Dodson carried once for seven, Smith one for six, Jake McElroy added six in three tries, and Searles two carried for four yards.
Hoover was one for two passing for 75 yards, that going to Roberts. Kolten Thomas was one for one for 36 yards, that going to Hoover.
Bailey had a good game for the purple and gold with 16 carries for 108 yards, Josh Stansberry added six carries f0r 25, Jonah Diddle seven for 21, and Blake Shain picked up nine in two carries.
Bailey was two of nine in the air for 11 yards, Andy Doczi was two for five for 12 yards. Shain caught one for 11, Bailey one for 10, Cade Anderson one for two and Derek Griffth one for no yards.
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Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.