NELSONVILLE, Ohio — The Nelsonville York Buckeyes combined a strong fist half rushing attack with some Meigs mistakes and key injuries to post a 42-16 win over the Marauders in Tri-Valley Conference football action Friday night in Athens County.
The Buckeyes rolled up 309 yards rushing on the night, with 248 of those coming in the first half while building a 35-8 halftime advantage.
The loss proved to be costly for the Marauders, as Meigs lost their star junior quarterback Coulter Cleland for an undetermined amount of time in the third period with a injury to his clavicle.
The talented junior went into the contest averaging over 325 passing yards a contest. The maroon and gold went into the contest with one of their top offensive threats and defensive players in junior Morgan Roberts who was out for the game with a shoulder injury.
The Buckeyes received the opening kickoff and did all their damage on the ground in 13 plays, driving 59 yards for the score. Colton Snyder scored from a yard out, Alec Taylor added the extra points for the early 7-0 lead.
Meigs fumbled on its first play as Tucker Levering recovered up the loose ball for the Buckeyes. On first down Kobi Bennington scored from 37 yards out. Taylor added the extra points and the Buckeyes went on top 14-0.
Meigs came back and pulled to within 14-8 when Wyatt Hoover pulled in an 18-yard pass from Cleland. Abe Lundy added the extra points at the 4:10 mark of the first period.
But back came the Buckeyes, driving 80 yards in just 8 plays with Bennington going the final seven yards, Taylor made it a 21-8 contest with his kick.
The Buckeyes forced Meigs to a three and out, and once again the maroon an gold made a mistake that helped the Buckeyes. A bad snap on a punt was recovered by Levering in the end zone for the score and increased the lead to 28-8 just four seconds into the second period.
The Marauders drove to the Buckeye 35, but Cleland’s pass to Wyatt Hoover was picked off by Christopher McDonald in the end zone to end any threat. The Buckeyes added another score with just 12 seconds left in the half when quarterback Drew Carter kept it from two yards out, giving the hosts a 35-8 lead at the half.
The Marauders came out in the second half and scored just 59 seconds into the third period when Cleland hit freshman Dillon Howard from 41 yards out. Cleland kept it for the extra points and Meigs had cut the lead to 35-18.
Another Marauder mistake cost them a golden opportunity in the third period when a holding penalty nullified a 40-yard pass from Cleland to Zach Searles that would have given Meigs the ball at the Buckeye three. Two plays later on third and long Cleland was hurt on a 16-yard scramble.
The Buckeyes ended the scoring when Snyder scored from a yard out with 11:04 left in the period. Taylor made it a perfect six for six on the extra points for the final of 42-16.
Cleland was 15 of 28 passing for 153 yards, while freshman brother Griffin Cleland caught six passes for 31 yards.
Freshman Braydon Stanley added two for 27, Hoover two for 25, Searles two for 24, McElroy two for five yards and Howard one for 41.
Cleland led the Marauders with 43 yards on the ground in 6 tries. McElroy added two for 22 and Hoover three for 19.
Bennington led the Buckeyes with 19 carries for 134 yards, Huston Stalder added 11 carries for 83 yards. Carter was six of 10 in the air for 84 yards, Ethan Gail had four catches for 64 and McDonald added two for 20.
The Marauders (2-1, 2-1 TVC Ohio) will host Warren Local (2-1) on Friday night.
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Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.