ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — The Alexander Spartans rode the back of Mason Chapman en route to their first-ever Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division championship by defeating the Meigs Marauders 35-26 Friday evening at Meigs High School.
Meigs went into the contest needing a win to tie the Spartans for the crown, but Chapman — who accounted for 243 yards of total offense and had an hand in all five Spartans touchdowns — ended the Marauders’ hopes.
The Marauders received the opening kickoff and quickly went on a 16-play, 81-yard score and took the first lead of the night when Cody Bartrum hit Colton Lilly with a pass for the score at the 6:03 mark of the first period.
The Spartans however took just three plays to take the lead when Chapman hit AJ Marks for a screen pass, and the junior took it 61 yards for the score. Kyle Howard added the kick and the Spartans were on top 7-6 with 7:25 left in the first period.
Lane Cullums gave the Marauders a 14-7 lead with an eight yard run, Bartrum added the extra points with 7:42 left in the half. The big play in the drive was a 40-yard pass from Bartrum to Kaileb Sheets on a third and 21 the play before the score.
Meigs went for the onside kick and the Marauder kicker almost missed the ball giving Alexander great field position. Trent Bradbury went 10 yards on first down and Chapman went the final 23 for the score. Howard tied the game at 14-all and that is way the half ended.
Marks returned the second half kickoff 40 yards once again giving the Spartans good field position. Three plays later it was Chapman from 20 yards out. Howard was perfect with his kick and the Spartans took a 21-14 at the 11:03 mark of the third period.
But back came the Marauders moving the ball down the field with the help of a 44-yard pass from Bartrum to Sheets, Bartrum scored on a keeper with 4:49 left to pull Meigs to within 21-20.
On first down Chapman hit Lukas Thompson for a 31-yard gain to the Marauder 25, Chapman scored from the two with 2:52 to go in the third. Howard added the extra points for a 28-20 Alexander lead.
Meigs cut it back to a two-point game when Cullums scored from seven yards out on the first play of the fourth period. That was set up by a Bartrum fumble recovery of Chapman’s at the seven.
But once again, the Spartans drove 51 yards in 11 plays and Chapman scored from a yard out. Howard added the extra points for a 35-26 Spartan advantage with 7:43 left in the contest.
Twice in the final period, Meigs had the ball in Spartan territory, each time they turned it over. All told the Marauders wasted three opportunities to score in Spartan territory, twice inside the Spartan 18-yard line.
The Marauders final chance came when Jake Weaver picked off a Bartrum pass in the end zone with 2:58 left in the game to ice the win.
“Give them all the credit in the world”, a dejected Mike Bartrum said after the contest. “They made the plays when they had to, they deserve to win, we played hard and I’m proud of our seniors, but I feel I let them down as a coach. Alexander come into our house and ran it down our throats they deserve it.”
Chapman led all rushers with 135 yards in 23 carries, he was also five for seven passing for 108 yards. Taylor Kimbrough was six of nine in the air for 66 yards. Lukas Thompson led the Spartans with 90 yards in five catches.
Bartrum led Meigs on the ground with 87 yards in 25 carries Cody was 15 of 28 in the air with three interceptions for 225 yards. Cullums had 40 yards in 14 carries and Sheets 39 in eight tries. Sheets chipped in with four catches for 96 yards, Lilly had seven for 75 and Zach Helton three for 21.
Meigs finishes it’s season at 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the TVC Ohio, while Alexander is 9-1 overall and 6-0 in TVC contests. The Spartans are also headed to the Division V, Region 17 playoffs next Friday night.
Meigs still leads the all-time series by a 26-6-1 margin.
Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.