WELLSTON, Ohio — Wellston held off a Meigs comeback attempt, and both teams endured a long weather delay in the first half as the Golden Rockets defeated Meigs 36-28 in Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division football action Friday night.
Wellston, with the win, kept its league title hopes alive as the Golden Rockets (5-4, 4-1 TVC Ohio) are a game behind Nelsonville-York heading into the final game of the season next week.
The Buckeyes who clinched a tie for the title will host Athens next week, while Wellston travels to Vinton County. A Nelsonville-York loss and Wellston win would create a two way tie for the TVC Ohio Division crown.
A lightning delay of over 45 minutes came with 2:45 in the first half, when the two teams resumed play the torrential rains made the field slick for the rest of the contest. After the long delay it was also decided not to have halftime and go straight from the second period into the third.
Despite the less than ideal conditions, Meigs senior quarterback Coulter Cleland had an outstanding game with 319 total yards on 183 yards passing and 136 rushing.
Meigs scored first, when Cleland hit Morgan Roberts, who slipped out of a tackle at his own 45 and tight roped down the sideline for 86 yards and the score with 6:59 left in the first period.
The Golden Rockets came back to take a 14-6 with scores in the first and second period. But Cleland cut the Wellston lead to 14-12 and he weaved his way through the Golden Rocket defense 54 yards for the score with 2 :45 left in the half.
At this point, the officials sent the two teams to the locker room as lightening and torrential rains hit the area.
After play resumed Brenton Beech returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards for the score. A bad snap on a Meigs punt attempt resulted in a safety in the third period and a 22-12 Wellston lead, to set the scene for an exciting fourth period.
Evan Brown scored for Wellston from a yard out to give the host a 28-12 with 11:15 left in the game.
But Cleland ran it in from five yards out, and then hit Wes Metzger for the extra point to pull Meigs to within 29-20 with 9:14 left.
Bodie Kemp who was a workhorse all night for the blue and gold made it 35-20 at the 4:28 mark to give Wellston the 15 point advantage.
But the Marauders refused to give up, and Cleland’s third rushing touchdown of the night this time from 66 yards out pulled the Marauders closer. Cleland then hit Morgan Roberts for the extra points and it 35-28 Wellston with 1:38 left.
Meigs went for the onside kick and recovered giving them one last chance, Wellston with the aid of a Meigs penalty ended the Marauders hopes as they held on downs.
Cleland led all rushers with 136 yards in eight carries and three touchdowns, Jake McElroy added five carries for 27 yards. Cleland was 11 of 22 in the air for 183 yards; Roberts caught three for 187, Griffin Cleland added three for 45, Dillon Howards one for 17 and Matt Barr one for 11.
Bodie Kemp led Wellston with 112 yards in 21 carries, Issac Molihan added83 in 15 tries. Molihan was six of 10 passing for 70 yards; Beech had two receptions for 40 and Zach Wilbur two for 15.
Meigs falls to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the conference and will host Alexander on Friday.
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Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.