TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — It may have taken a quarter, but once the Raiders started rolling, there was no stoping the Silver and Black.
The River Valley football team — which was held scoreless in the opening stanza — piled up 354 yards of offense Friday night, en route to a 57-0 victory over non-conference host Eastern, at East Shade River Stadium.
The Raiders (3-0) suffered three turnovers in the first quarter, but got on the board at the 10:58 mark of the second period on a one-yard Justin Arrowood run. Mark Wray kicked the extra point for River Valley, capping off the 49-yard seven-play drive.
After forcing Eastern (0-3) to punt for the fourth time in the game, River Valley marched down the field picking up first downs on three consecutive plays. The Eagles halted RVHS in the red zone and the Raiders were forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Wray. The kick gave the Silver and Black a 10-0 lead with 6:58 remaining in the first half.
Eastern began its next drive on it’s own 33 and used six plays, including a 33-yard pass from Jett Facemyer to Cameron Richmond, to get to the RVHS 11. The Raider defense stood tall, forcing a turnover on downs at the two-yard line.
After completing a 14-yard pass to Jacob Dovenbarger on the first play of the drive, RVHS senior quarterback Dayton Hardway found Wray for an 84-yard touchdown. The point after attempt failed, but River Valley pulled ahead 16-0 with 3:16 left in the first half.
The Green and Gold were forced into a three-and-out on their next possession and the Raiders set up shop at the EHS 48. Following a 13-yard third down completion to Dovenbarger, Hardway hooked up with Kirk Morrow for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 1:59 to play in the first half. Wray’s point after kick was successful and the Silver and Black held the 23-0 lead at halftime.
“In the first couple of series it was hit and miss, we were making right decisions, but the ball off a little bit,” River Valley head coach Jerrod Sparling said. “Then we started settling down, taking what they gave us and letting our guys do what they do best.”
Eastern was pushed back 11 yards on the first drive of the second half and was forced to punt. River Valley senior George Williams took the handoff on the first play of the ensuing Raider drive and rumbled 42 yard to the endzone. Wray’s kick gave RVHS a 30-0 lead with 9:24 remaining in the third.
After another EHS three-and-out, River Valley took over on the EHS 42-yard line. A 36-yard pass from RVHS backup quarterback Patrick Brown to Wray, gave the Raiders a first and goal from the 10. Arrowood then took the first down handoff through the Eastern defense and into the endzone for six points. Wray’s point after pushed the Raiders’ lead to 37-0 with 5:26 left in the third period.
The Eagles managed their first first down of the second half on their next drive, but a fumble on first down gave possession back to the Raiders. A 15-yard pass from Brown to Ty Smittle set up a 15-yard touchdown run for Jacob Campbell which, with Wray’s extra point, gave RVHS a 44-0 lead with 1:14 left in the third.
Eastern picked up a pair of first downs before Tre Craycraft intercepted a pass and gave possession back to the Silver and Black. On River Valley’s first play of the drive, Campbell took the handoff and marched 44 yards for six points. Wray’s point after gave RVHS a 51-0 lead with 7:14 remaining in regulation.
The Eagles went three-and-out on their next drive and were forced to punt. RVHS freshman Layne Fitch fielded the punt on the EHS 49-yard line and weaved through the Eagles’ punt team, eventually finding paydirt. The point after kick sailed wide, but the Raiders capped off the 57-0 victory.
“They were just a lot bigger than us,” Eastern coach Pat Newland said. “We came out, we wanted to fight and do the best we could. We knew they were probably a better football team than us, they’re bigger and faster, but we gave it our best. That’s all we can ask from our kids.”
Leading River Valley was Hardway, who completed 10-of-20 passes for 232 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. Brown, a sophomore, was 2-for-2 passing for 51 yards.
Wray, who was 6-of-8 on extra points and 1-of-1 on field goal attempts, led the Raiders with 145 yards and a touchdown on four receptions. Dovenbarger hauled in four passes for 60 yards, Morrow added two receptions for 49 yards and a score, Ty Smittle added one 15-yard reception, while Dylan Brown caught one pass for five yards.
On the ground Campbell led RVHS with 59 yards and two scores on two carries, while Williams posted 38 yards and one score on two carries. Arrowood ran five times, scoring twice and racking up 22 yards, while Sam Payne posted four yards on two rushes.
Eastern’s offense was paced by junior Jett Facemyer, who was 10-of-20 passing for 110 yards and posted a team-high 24 rushing yards on 14 tries. Nate Durst marked 17 yards on nine carries for the Eagles, Dylan Creath added eight yards on two carries, Trenton Delacruz finished with six yards on six carries, while Josh Brewer finished with three yards on eight carries.
Richmond, who intercepted a RVHS pass in the first quarter, led Eagle receivers with 75 yards on six receptions. Corbett Catlett marked 11 yards on two catches, Durst added nine yards on two grabs, Chase Curtis finished with eight yards on one catch, while Jeremiah Martindale added five yards on one catch.
“We played pretty well on defense in the first half,” Newland said. “We told our kids ‘we want you to play hard and hit’. They just ended up wearing us down with their big offensive and defensive lines.”
The Raiders held an 18-to-12 advantage in first downs, a 122-44 advantage in rushing yards and a 282-to-110 advantage in yards through the air. EHS was penalized seven times for 62 yards, while RVHS was sent back three times for 30 yards.
The Eagles will host Federal Hocking in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division tilt next Friday, while RVHS will be putting its undefeated record on the line, as the Raiders open up the TVC Ohio season at Nelsonville-York.
“3-0 always feels good,” Sparling said. “We have to get better, we can’t afford a slow start next week. Going into Nelsonville, you have to go from the opening kickoff and be ready to execute. They do a great job, I know they have great personnel and it’s going to be a big, big challenge for us.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.