Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.
ASHVILLE — Just after Friday night’s season-opening win, first-year Chillicothe coach Scott Bartholomew stood near midfield with the game ball in his hand.
Bartholomew’s Cavaliers had just put away a 29-19 victory over Teays Valley — which happens to be Bartholomew’s alma mater — and had used big plays and defensive pressure to do so.
And while he readily admitted his team had a ton of work in front of it, he also couldn’t help but sport a smile.
“I’m very excited. Both teams, I think, had their moments,” Bartholomew said. “Early on, we made big plays. Teays might’ve been the better team early on, but we made the big plays to put points on the board. Then, I thought we responded when they scored. That was big. You have to give both teams credit. We both were replacing a lot of kids and I thought we were both well-prepared. It’s nice to win but it’s better to know that the kids are buying into what we’re doing.”
The Cavaliers (1-0), as Bartholomew mentioned, not only made big plays to put points on the board, but did so defensively as well. In the first half alone, Chillicothe forced four turnovers — two of which led to touchdowns.
“From the beginning of the year, our defense has really stepped up,” senior Maxwell Lee said. “We’ve got a lot of juniors playing and they really stepped up tonight. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
All in all, Teays Valley (0-1) nearly doubled Chillicothe’s offensive output. The Vikings racked up 480 total yards of offense, averaging 7.3 yards per play, compared to the Cavaliers’ mark of 289.
But when it mattered, pressure on TV quarterback Matthew Farmer, alongside a ball-hawking mentality, kept the Vikings’ offense off the scoreboard drive after drive. Meanwhile, Chillicothe cashed in on the other side.
“We made big plays. The offensive line has a long way to go. We missed some opportunities and assignments. But we were able to do things when we needed to in order to get the ball off and allow our skill kids to make some big plays,” Bartholomew said. “I told the kids all week that different things are going to happen in Week 1; penalties, cramps, missed assignments. But it’s how you handle those things that make a difference. I thought our kids did a good job with that.”
The game’s first score came with 9:42 left in the first quarter. After Chillicothe recovered a muffed punt at Teays Valley’s 39-yard line, quarterback Mason Doughty found Tre King for a 27-yard gain. Two plays later, Doughty hit a wide open Tayvion Galloway in the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown, making it 7-0.
The Vikings answered at the 1:23 mark when Farmer hit a streaking Harrison Payne for a 53-yard touchdown strike, forcing a 7-7 tie. However, not to be outdone, Chillicothe provided a swift rebuttal.
On the Cavaliers’ next drive, Lee took a handoff 64 yards for a house call with 16 seconds remaining, putting his team back on top, 14-7.
“[Teays Valley] gambled there in the first half with some twists in the middle, and they hit us a couple of times for losses,” Bartholomew said. “But then we hit them with Max’s 64-yard run. That’s what happens when you gamble. It happens. You make some great plays and then you give up a great play.”
The Vikings’ turnover woes struck again on their next drive as Chillicothe pounced on a fumble with 11:03 to go in the first half. That led to a 53-yard touchdown toss from Doughty to Galloway with 10:14 remaining, putting the Cavaliers ahead 21-7 — the eventual halftime tally.
The only score in the third quarter came with just nine seconds left. Teays Valley running back Gavin Karshner polised off a scoring drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge, cutting the deficit to 21-13 following a missed PAT.
Chillicothe, again, answered quickly. With Doughty on the bench due to injury, backup quarterback Caden Eblin found King in the back corner of the end zone at the 9:36 mark in the fourth. King made an acrobatic catch, scooping the ball in the air high over his defender, to make it a 29-13 score — following a successful two-point try.
“I look to run every one of my routes as hard as I can, no matter if I’m getting the ball or not,” King said. “[On the touchdown play], they said, ‘Just go up for it.’ I went up for it.”
The night’s final score came with 7:23 remaining when Karshner crossed the goal line from 11 yards out. However, from that point on, Chillicothe’s defense kept the Vikings at bay.
With Teays Valley driving near the end of the game, defensive back Shawn Smith stepped in front of a pass and put the win on ice with a sideline-toeing interception.
“This means a lot. This is the first time our seniors have been 1-0,” Lee said. “Coach is really emotional right now … it’s a great team win. Going forward, we’re really excited, but we have to get better in the second half. When we’re in the lead, we have to put our foot on their throats and end the game.”
Statistically, Doughty was 12-of-21 passing for 144 yards alongside two touchdowns and an interception. Eblin filled in nicely, completing 4-of-5 pass attempts for 34 yards and a score.
Galloway hauled in three passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, King had 32 receiving yards and a score, and Lee ran for 108 yards on 13 carries alongside a touchdown.
For Teays Valley, Farmer was 16-of-22 passing for 209 yards alongside a touchdown and a pair of picks. Karshner tallied 19 carries for 147 yards and two scores, Richard Odum had 15 rushes for 131 yards, and Payne caught 13 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.
Chillicothe will host London this coming Friday, looking for back-to-back wins, while Teays Valley travels to Logan.
“We need more consistency on the offensive side,” Bartholomew said. “London is going to line up and try to run over us, too. I haven’t seen them on field but that’s their M.O. We have to get a little bit better at that and sure up some things defensively. I’m not one to put in a bunch of stuff each week. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and get better at it.”