AMANDA, Ohio — As the clock struck midnight, Cody Bartrum took a snap in the victory formation and went to a knee as the final seconds clicked off the scoreboard — and the celebration began.
The Marauders went toe to toe with perennial state power Amanda Clearcreek and answered every punch the Aces threw with a combination of their own, upsetting the hosts 42-27.
The game was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., but was delayed until 9:20 due to severe weather in the area. The long wait did not seem to affect both teams, or the large crowd that stayed until the end.
Meigs junior quarterback Cody Bartrum had an outstanding night throwing for 354 yards and four touchdowns, and added 73 more yards on the ground. But he wasn’t the only star for Meigs, as Jared Kennedy and Colton Lilly added a pair of touchdowns each to lead the Maroon and Gold.
On defense, the Marauders did an outstanding job on the Aces’ all-state back Jordan Leasure, although the 6-foot-1, 205 pound senior did gain 137 yards in 28 carries.
The Aces scored the first points of the night on a five yard run by Leasure. Christian Meadows added the extra point with 2:55 left in the first period and Amanda was on top 7-0.
Meigs was moving the ball in the early going but had nothing to show for it, but the maroon and gold exploded over the last 4:13 of the first half.
Meigs took over on its own 20 after a touchback with 4:55 left in the half. Two plays later facing a second and 12, Bartrum found Lilly down the right sideline. Lilly pulled the ball in at about the Aces 40 and took it in for the score, completing an 82 yard touchdown pass.
The extra point was no good, but Meigs cut the lead to 7-6. Two plays later, Kaileb Sheets picked off a Breydon Neff pass in the flat and raced untouched 29 yards for the score. Bartrum added the extra point for a 14-7 Meigs lead with 3:25 left in the half.
Another Aces punt gave Meigs the ball at the 20 after it rolled in the end zone with 1:49 left in the half. Meigs then ran the two minute offense to perfection driving 80 yards in nine plays and capped it off when Bartrum hit Kennedy in the end zone from nine yards out with 23 seconds left. The extra point was blocked but Meigs went into the locker room at the half on top 20-7.
The Aces took the second half kickoff and pulled to within six at 20-14 when Leasure scored from two yards out. Brock Schneider added the extra points with 9:35 left in the third.
Meigs built their lead to 28-14, when Bartrum hit Kennedy over the middle. Jared split a pair of Aces defenders and took it 56 yards for the score. Bartrum added the extra points with a run at the 3:57 mark.
It took just a minute and 13 seconds for the Aces to answer with Leasure scoring on a 30 yard run, Schneider added the kick and once again it was back to a one score game at 28-21 with 2:43 remaining in the third.
Meigs was on the drive to start the fourth period, two plays into the fourth, Bartrum broke a tackle in the backfield and hit Lilly at five. Lilly then dove into the end zone taking an Aces defender along for the ride The extra points was no good but Meigs increased the lead to 34-21 with 11:09 left.
Neff scored from five yard out on a quarterback keeper for the Aces to cut the lead to 34-27 with 7:27 left in the contest. But the Marauders put together a nine play, 62 yard drive taking 5;05 off the clock and Trae Hood iced the win for Meigs driving the final four yards for the score with 2:21 left.
Bartrum hit Lilly for the extra points and a 42-27 lead. Bartrum had hooked up with Lilly on a huge play just a play before the touchdown, and the junior quarterback hit Lilly for 19 yards on a fourth and 12 to keep the drive going.
The Marauders defense then came up with a big play on defense, tackling Neff in the backfield causing a fumble. Layne Acree recovered for Meigs and the Marauders proceeded to run out the final 1:44 for the win.
“The kids just keep working hard,” Marauder coach Mike Bartrum said. “Pastor David talked to the kids about persevering today, and they did, they just kept playing hard. Leasure is a tough kid, one of the best I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching. But the kids did a great job on him. Coaches Willford and Olexa did a good job sending the linebackers at the right time.”
Bartrum was 21 of 30 in the air for 354 yards, Lilly had nine of those grabs for 206 yards, and Sheets had seven for 54 and Kennedy two for 65, bot touchdowns. Bartrum carried 18 times for 73 yards for Meigs, Sheets added nine for 28, Hood 10 for 24.
Leasure led the Aces with 28 carries for 137; he was the only Aces rusher with more than one yard rushing. Neff was nine of 22 in the air for 157 yards, Keaton Baldwin caught two for 68, Lance Clevenger added four for 59.
Meigs has another tough game next week when it travels to Logan for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Dave Harris is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.
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