SOUTH POINT, Ohio — A slow start ruined the Raiders night.
The River Valley football team was outscored 26-7 in the opening quarter of Friday night’s Ohio Valley Conference bout at South Point. The Raiders were able to right the ship after that but the Pointers held on for the 47-28 victory.
The Pointers (7-2, 3-1 OVC) struck first with a seven yard touchdown run by James Leonard at the 4:40 mark of the opening stanza. The extra point kick failed and SPHS led 6-0.
SPHS found paydirt again just over two minutes later when quarterback Gage Townson completed a 51 yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Jones. Alex Whitt kicked in the extra point and put the Pointers ahead 13-0.
On the ensuing kickoff RVHS (1-8, 0-4) junior Dustin Bickers ran 94 yards to the endzone, and following the Devin McDonald extra point, cut the South Point lead to 13-7.
At the 2:09 mark of the first quarter the Blue and Gold were at it again, as Townson hit Jones for a 58 yard touchdown, and with Jordan Overstreet’s extra point, put the Pointers on top 20-7.
With 1:08 remaining in the first River Valley quarterback Dayton Hardway’s pass was intercepted by James Leonard and taken back for the touchdown. The point after attempt failed and SPHS led 26-7 at the end of the first period.
Just under four minutes remained in the half when SPHS quarterback Townson connected with Jones for their third score of the game, this one coming from 31 yards out. Audric Harlow converted the two point conversion pass to Josh Browning and South Point led 34-7.
With only 43 ticks until halftime RVHS found the endzone when Hardway completed a 27 yard pass to Tyler Twyman for the Raiders second touchdown of the game. McDonald added the extra point and RVHS trailed 34-14 at halftime.
River Valley kept the momentum through the intermission and Hardway found the endzone on a quarterback sneak for six points. McDonald added the point after and the Raiders, who at one time trailed by 27 points, were within 13 points at 34-21.
The SPHS special teams got to work some magic of their own on the ensuing kickoff, as Josh Browning returned the kick 82 yards for six points. Overstreet’s point after was good and SPHS led 41-21.
Hardway connected with Mark Wray on a 64 yard touchdown pass just 22 seconds later and, after the McDonald PAT, cut the South Point lead to 41-28.
With the game well in hand with less than a minute to play South Point scored again, this time on a 20 yard run by Jacob Damron. The extra point attempt failed and South Point took the 47-28 victory, their third straight.
Dayton Hardway led the Raiders with 297 yards on 17-of-35 through the air with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Hardway also added one touchdown on the ground.
Austin Bradley led the Raiders receiving core with eight grabs for 123 yards, while Mark Wray had 99 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. Tyler Twyman caught three passes for for 72 yards and a touchdown, while Justin Arrowood had one catch for three yards.
Arrowood was the Raiders leader on the ground with 12 yards on four attempts, while Austin Bradley and Gage Overstreet each had two yards on one carry. Dustin Bickers had four kick returns for 127 yards and a score.
Gage Townson was 15-of-34 for 265 and three touchdowns for the victors. Isaiah Jones led the the receiving core with eight receptions, 217 yards and three scores, while Josh Browning had 22 yards on three catches. Audric Harlow caught one pass for 20 yards, Rowdy Finnegan had one grab for seven yards, while James Leonard had two receptions for minus one yard.
James Leonard led all rushers with 144 yards on 16 carries with a score, James Damron had 45 yards on seven carries with a score, Townson had 21 yards on seven carries, Tyler Branch ran once for 14 yards, Davon Leonard had three carries for 13 yards and Josh Browning was stopped for minus one yard on his only carry.
The Pointers held a 71-to-56 advantage in offensive plays ran, a nearly 20 minute advantage in time of possession and a 501-to-261 advantage in total yards. RVHS committed two turnovers, while SPHS had one. South Point was penalized 16 times for135 yards, while River Valley was setback three times for 20 yards. Both teams fumbled twice with the Raiders recovering three loose balls. River Valley punted seven times, while the Pointers booted the ball away four times.
On two separate occasions in the game there were three touchdowns within a 40-second span.
RVHS has now lost five straight league games dating back to last season.
The Raiders will look to end their season on a high note next Friday when they attempt to upset OVC leader Fairland in Proctorville. South Point will host Coal Grove next week and try to secure the Hornets first losing season in 10 seasons.