SHADYSIDE, Ohio — Even in defeat, the Raiders completed their mission.
The River Valley football team dropped a 14-7 non-conference decision to host Shadyside on Friday night in Belmont County, but not all was lost as the Raiders clinched their first-ever playoff appearance.
“If we’re lucky enough to play in Week 11, we have to get back in the film room and correct some errors,” fifth year RVHS head coach Jerrod Sparling said. “We have to fix our mistakes and get back to our brand of football.”
Shadyside (4-6) — which clinched its 11th straight playoff appearance with the win — fired the opening salvo as junior Jesse Cain scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter. William Johnson added the point after and the Tigers led 7-0 at halftime.
River Valley (7-3) evened the game in the third period when senior quarterback Dayton Hardway scrambled into the endzone from 10 yards out, and Devin McDonald kicked home the extra point.
The Tigers regained the lead in the fourth quarter on a three-yard run by Johnson. Johnson added the extra point and the hosts held on for a 14-7 victory.
“We just didn’t play our brand of football,” RVHS head coach Jerrod Sparling said. “We weren’t passionate, we weren’t energetic, we made mental errors and you just can’t have that and expect to beat a good football program like Shadyside.”
The Raiders were outgained 263-to-182 in total offense, including 196-to-145 on the ground. Shadyside held a 15-to-9 advantage in first downs and a 67-to-37 edge in passing yards. Both teams were penalized for 25 yards, RVHS on four flags and SHS on three. River Valley fumbled three times and kept possession twice, while Shadyside recovered its lone fumble.
Hardway, who had 27 yards and a touchdown on five carries, completed 5-of-10 pass attempts for 37 yards with one interception.
Mark Wray led the Raiders on the ground with 80 yards on 16 carries, followed by Justin Arrowood with 38 yards on 10 carries. Kirk Morrow led all RVHS receivers with 30 yards on two receptions, while Jacob Dovenbarger caught one pass for seven yards.
Johnson ran for 38 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries for SHS, while completing 7-of-13 passes for 67 yards with an interception. Steven Doughty led all rushers with 85 yards on 15 carries, while Cain had 69 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Gregory Quinn caught one 22-yard pass for the Tigers, while Chase Wade had 21 yards on two receptions and Logan Cline had 18 yards on two catches.
As of Friday night, the unofficial standings on joeeitel.com had River Valley listed in the seven spot and headed to Zane Trace. The official OHSAA playoff pairings will be released Sunday morning on ohsaa.org
OVP sports correspondent J.P. Davis contributed to this report. Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.