PROCTORVILLE, Ohio — The Raiders were outgunned in the finale.
River Valley, which gained 266 total yards Friday night, was out matched by Ohio Valley Conference host and Champion Fairland, which gained 554 yards, in the regular season finale.
River Valley (1-9, 0-5 OVC) struck first with a 33 yard touchdown pass from Dayton Hardway to Mark Wray at the 9:17 mark. Just over a minute later Fairland (7-3, 5-0) answered with a 68 yard scoring pass from Chance Short to Kyle Sowards. Isiah Vidal added the point after and FHS held the 7-6 lead.
Fairland added on to its lead at the 5:24 mark of the first period with a 12 yard Evan Maddox run and a Vidal extra point. The Dragons were in the endzone again at the 4:04 mark when Maddox intercepted Dayton Hardway’s pass and took it 34 yards for the score. Vidal’s point after put Fairland on top 21-6.
With 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter Hardway connected with Wray again, this time for a 65 yard touchdown. The Raiders trailed 21-12 at the end of the first period.
Just eight seconds into the second period the Raiders pulled within three points as Hardway connected with Austin Bradley for the 21 yard touchdown.
Fairland answered with back-to-back scores to end the half with a 34-18 lead. The first of the two scores was on a 57 yard pass from Short to Sowards, while the second came on a 40 yard Maddox run and was followed by a Vidal extra point.
Nathan Campbell got into the action for Fairland at the 10:05 mark of the third canto with a five yard run, followed by a Vidal point after. Fairland went ahead 48-18 after Dylan Murphy returned a Hardway interception 41 yards for the touchdown and Vidal kicked the PAT at the 5:44 mark.
River Valley’s Dustin Bickers intercepted Short on the Raider 12-yard line and ran 88 yards for the score. Devin McDonald added the RVHS point after and the Raiders trailed 48-25.
With 54 seconds remaining in the third period Short connected with Sowards for the duo’s third score of the night, this time from 14 yards out. Vidal’s PAT made the score 55-25 at the end of the third.
With 10:58 remaining in the game River Valley’s Josh Campbell recovered a Kobe Woodall fumble for the touchdown. Following McDonald’s kick the Raiders trailed 55-32.
The final score of the game came at the 3:53 mark with a 27 yard field goal by Vidal that put FHS ahead 58-32.
Dayton Hardway threw for 232 yards on 16-of-41 passing with three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Mark Wray led the RVHS receiving core with 132 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions, followed by Austin Bradley with 63 yards on four receptions with a touchdown. Tyler Twyman had six receptions for 24 yards, while Dustin Bickers had one grab for 13 yards.
Justin Arrowood led the RVHS run game with 16 yards on eight attempts, followed by Tre Craycraft with 14 yards on five attempts, Jordan Gilliland with eight yards on one rush, Mark Wary with four yards on one carry, Colton Provens with two yards on one rush and Austin Bradley with one yard on two carries.
Mike Williams and Seann Roberts each had a sack for the RVHS defense, while Bickers and Bradley each had an interception.
Fairland’s Chance Short was 14-of-25 through the air for 382 yards with three scores and two interceptions.
Evan Maddox led the ground attack for FHS with 105 yards and two scores on 15 tries, followed by Nathan Campbell with 70 yards and a score on 14 tries.
Kyle Sowards was the game’s leading receiver with 184 yards and three scores on six grabs. Campbell had 89 yards on five receptions, Jacob Warner caught one 41 yard pass, Dylan Murphy caught one 40 yard pass, while Derrick Willis had one 28 yard reception.
Fairland held a 24-12 first down advantage, a 554-226 total yards advantage and a 6:04 time of possession edge. The Dragons committed 11 penalties for 105 yards, while RVHS had eight setbacks for 90 yards.
This marks the final Ohio Valley Conference game for River Valley as the Raiders join the Tri-Valley Conference next season. The Raiders joined the OVC in 2002 and have gone 8-52 in league games, a winning percentage of just 13.3. Fairland will travel to Wheelersburg for the opening round of the postseason.
This marks the final game for RVHS seniors Austin Bradley, Jared Mabe and Seann Roberts.