With only three weeks left in the regular season - and knowing that they needed to win to make the Ohio playoffs - the River Pilots posted a 40-6 victory over the Shenandoah Zeps on Alumni Field in New Martinsville Oct. 12.
The River Pilot quarterback, Cody "Golden Arm" Caldwell, had a hand in River's two scores in the first quarter. He capped off an impressive first drive with a one-yard run, while hooking up with Kameron "Kam" Brown on a nifty 45-yard pitch-and-catch to take a 13-0 lead after one PAT kick by Colton Wright.
In the second period, the combination of Caldwell and Brown worked once more, this time on a TD pass that went for 33 yards. Jordan Sapp got into the scoring column with a one-yard run, and, after a pair of Wright conversion kicks, the Pilots were up 27-0 at the break.
Bryce Cross caught a Caldwell 46-yard pass for the first score of the second half, while Nick Asturi capped off another outstanding Pilot drive with a four-yard run. Wright split the uprights on one of the TD conversion attempts.
In the fourth period, Shenandoah got on the scoreboard with a 15-yard pass.
The Pilots offense was led by Caldwell with 184 yards passing and three TDs, while gaining six yards rushing. Brown caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, while Cross hauled in three passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
In addition, Asturi caught two passes for 11 yards, while Dallas Necessary and Craig Hupp each grabbed a pass for positive yardage. Joey Flannery connected on all three of his passing attempts for 13 yards.
On the ground, Asturi galloped for 161 yards on 14 touches and scored a TD, while Sapp netted 83 yards on 13 attempts. In addition, Bailey Reusser rushed for 25 yards, while Flannery, Cole Isaly, and Zac Smith each tacked on positive yardage.
Defensively, the Pilots limited Shenandoah to only three first downs, while the hosts moved the chains 28 times. The Pilots held the Zeps to 33 yards rushing on 30 tries, while limiting Shenandoah to 7-19 passes for only 37 yards.
The Pilots' Dakota Dunn led all Pilot defenders with 10 tackles, two of which were for loss of yardage. Evan Eggleston hauled down seven Zep ball carriers, with one going for loss of yardage. Astuiri made four solo tackles and assisted on one, while making one tackle for loss of yardage. He also made two interceptions and deflected another, while Cross made five solo tackles and assisted on three others. Brok Cross also made an interception.
With two games remaining in the season, the Pilots will take on Buckeye Trail Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at Buckeye Trail High School, before ending the regular season at Alumni Field Oct. 27 against Frontier at 3 p.m.