McARTHUR, Ohio — Wyatt Hoover pulled in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Coulter Cleland with just 44 seconds remaining to lead the Meigs Marauders to an exciting 28-20 win over the Vinton County Vikings Friday night in the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division opener.
The Marauders outscored the Vikings 22-6 in the fourth period to post the come-from-behind win, a contest that was delayed at the start for a short amount of time due to lightning — and again in the first period for over an hour.
It was an impressive performance for the Marauders (1-0, 1-0 TVC Ohio) under second year head coach David Tennant, who now owns a 2-game winning streak dating back to last fall. The Vikings went into the season with high hopes but the Marauders played toe-to-toe with the hosts.
Meigs drew first blood in the contest as a Viking punt gave the ball to the Maroon and Gold at the Viking 47.
On first down Cleland kept the ball for 20 yards. Jake McElroy then scored from 27 yards out, fighting through Viking defenders the final seven yards to give Meigs a 6-0 lead with 5:58 reaming. At that point a second storm rolled in and delayed the contest for over an hour.
Vinton County (0-1, 0-1) took the lead with 6:21 left in the half when Broc Moore scored from two yards out, Braylon Damron added the extra points.
The Viking drove to the Marauder one late in the half, but a holding penalty on the Vikings put the ball on the 11. Morgan Roberts then threw Damron for a 8-yard loss. The half ended when Damron’s pass was caught out of the end zone as time expired in the half.
Vinton increased the lead to 14-6, when Moore took and inside hand off and went 30 yards for the score. The extra point was no good, and the third period ended with the Vikings on top 14-6.
The Marauders pulled to within two at the 9:43 mark of the fourth period when freshman Dillon Howard made a nice catch and spin out of a Viking tackle at the five and went into the end zone for the score.
The Vikings came right back however when Zach Radabaugh scored from 19 yards out with just 7:22 left in the game, the all important extra points were no good.
Meigs came right back however and drove 74 yards, aided by two Viking pass interference calls to tie the game. Zach Searles pulled in a 9-yard pass from Cleland for the score. Cleland kept it and dove into the end zone for the extra points to tie the game at 20 with 2:03 remaining.
The Vikings had good field position with time on the clock, driving to the Meigs 39, but Hoover sacked Damron for a 12-yard loss on third down.
With the Vikings facing a fourth and 18 from the Marauder 18, Damron’s pass was picked off by Searles, who returned it 30 yards to the Viking 36 with 54 seconds left.
Meigs wasted little time as Cleland dropped a perfect pass into the arms of Hoover at the five, and the senior pulled away from a Vinton defender for the score. Connor Imboden pulled in a pass from Cleland for the extra points, and a 28-20 Meigs lead.
The Vikings last chance went for naught, as a fired up Marauder defense pressured Damron into four straight incomplete passes to end the contest.
Jake McElroy led Meigs with 33 yards in five carries, Cleland added 32 in 13 tries, and Abe Lundy six carries for 31. Cleland was 17 of 27 in the air for 264 yards. Hoover had seven receptions for 91 yards, Morgan Roberts seven for 74, Lundy three for 17, Howard two for 70, Searles one for none and McElroy one for three.
Elijah Williams led the Vikings withe 68 yards in eight carries, Moore 52 in 11 tries, and Karr eight for 36. Damron was three of 12 in the air for 47 yards, Karr caught two for 27 and Moore one for 20.
Meigs will host River Valley on Friday in a TVC Ohio contest at 7 p.m.
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Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.