BIDWELL, Ohio — For 22 minutes, River Valley did everything it had hoped against visiting Fairland. The Dragons, however, needed less than two minutes to tear it all down.
Two late first-half scores gave Fairland all the momentum it needed the rest of the night, as the Dragons turned a 6-0 deficit into a convincing 47-19 victory over RVHS in a Week 10 Ohio Valley Conference matchup in Gallia County.
The host Raiders (2-8, 1-4 OVC) played even-up with the Dragons (5-5, 3-2) for most of the first half, and RVHS appeared to have momentum on its side after taking a 6-0 lead with 3:50 remaining until halftime. FHS, however, countered with a nine-play, 84-yard scoring drive to take an 8-6 edge with 1:06 left until the intermission.
Fairland then recovered the ensuing onside kick at the RVHS 40 and needed only three plays and 35 seconds to cover that distance for a 16-6 advantage at the intermission. The Silver and Black were never closer the rest of the way.
The Dragons went on to score four of the next five touchdowns in the contest en route to a 47-13 cushion with 6:55 left in regulation, and River Valley tacked on one final score with just 20 seconds remaining to wrap up the final outcome at its 28-point difference.
Fairland claimed a 20-13 edge in first downs and amassed 543 yards of total offense, which included a staggering 339 rushing yards on 51 carries. River Valley gained just 125 yards on 29 rushes and also finished the night minus-1 in turnover differential.
After a scoreless first quarter of play, the Raiders struck first blood with 3:50 left in the second canto after Chris Clemente hauled in a 46-yard scoring pass from Dayton Hardway — giving the hosts their only lead of the night at 6-0.
The Dragons countered with a long drive on the ensuing possession, which was capped when Kyle Sowards caught a 53-yard scoring pass from Chance Short at the 1:06 mark for an even 6-all affair. Sowards and Short again hooked up successfully on the two-point conversion try, giving the Green and White a lead it would never relinquish the rest of the evening.
FHS followed with a short squib kick that it recovered in the middle of the field, then marched 40 yards in three plays to ultimately claim a double-digit lead. Tyree Ceasar plunged in from four yards out with 31 seconds remaining for a 14-6 lead. Sowards and Short again connected on a two-point pass play successfully, giving the guests a 16-6 halftime advantage.
Nathan Campbell gave Fairland a 22-6 edge with a six-yard TD run at the 7:23 mark of the third, then hauled in a pass from Short on the two-point conversion try for a 24-6 lead.
RVHS countered with a one-yard TD run by Hardway to pull within 24-12, and Dustin Shepherd tacked on the extra-point kick to get the hosts within 11 points with 3:45 left in the third canto.
Campbell capped the ensuing FHS drive with a 47-yard touchdown run at the 1:14 mark of the third, then Short added a successful two-point conversion run for a 32-13 advantage.
Cody Midkiff caught a 27-yard scoring pass from Short with 11:07 left in regulation, and Campbell hauled in a two-point conversion pass from Short to extend the Dragons’ lead to 40-13. Ceasar added Fairland’s final TD of the night on a 16-yard run at the 6:55 mark, and Isaiah Vidal tacked on the extra-point kick for a sizable 47-13 cushion.
River Valley’s Kyle Brown completed the scoring with 20 seconds left in regulation after plunging in from five yards out, wrapping up the 47-19 outcome.
RVHS finished the night with 165 passing yards and was penalized eight times for 55 yards, while the guests mustered 204 passing yards while being flagged 11 times for 100 yards. Both teams had two punts in the contest and each lost a fumble. The Raiders also threw the only interception in the game.
Brown led the River Valley rushing attack with 105 yards on 13 carries, followed by Austin Davies with seven tries for 13 yards. Jacob Leach had seven yards on three totes, Ethan Dovenbarger had one carry for four yards and Dayton Hardway added one carry for one yard. Austin Whobrey also had four carries for minus-5 yards.
Hardway finished the night 9-of-20 passing for 154 yards, which included one touchdown and one interception. Whobrey also completed his only pass of the night for 11 yards. Brown led the RVHS wideouts with two catches for 44 yards, while Chris Clemente grabbed two passes for 41 yards.
Davies had one reception for 17 yards, Whobrey had three grabs for 13 yards and Austin Bradley had one catch for four yards in the setback.
Campbell led Fairland’s rushing attack with 113 yards on 13 carries, while Ceasar had an even 100 yards rushing on 18 attempts. Short added 59 rushing yards on 10 attempts and also went 10-of-16 passing for 204 yards while throwing a pair of touchdowns. Sowards led the Dragon wideouts with four catches for 112 yards.
It was the final football contest for seniors Dustin Shepherd, Austin Whobrey, Chris Clemente, Burnie Stanley, Austin Davies, Dalton Masters, Ethan Dovenbarger, Justin Mabe, Kyle Brown, Jacob Leach, Chris Robinette, Issacc Moss, Ryan Perry, Coty Edge and Ricky Holmes in the Silver and Black.
The Raiders finished the 2012 campaign with a 1-4 home record, their first season at the new RVHS athletic complex. It is the second straight year that River Valley has finished 2-8 under second-year head coach Jerrod Sparling.