By DAVID ADAM
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Chillicothe IVC football team was 78 seconds away from going into halftime down by just 10 points, and the Grey Ghosts were receiving the second-half kickoff.
It took Quincy Notre Dame less than a minute to scare away any thoughts of an upset.
Jordan Chapel's 15-yard touchdown pass from Joe McCaughey, coupled with a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown by Barry Welper, helped the Raiders quickly turn a 17-7 nailbiter into a 31-7 halftime lead, and the hosts rolled to a 51-16 victory in West Central Conference play Friday night.
The Raiders (5-1, 3-0 WCC) scored on each of their first three possessions. McCaughey threw touchdown passes of 25 yards to Welper and 2 yards to Brady Genenbacher, and Ben Nord tacked on a 30-yard field goal to make it 17-0 with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter.
The Grey Ghosts (3-3, 3-1) lost by 44 points at home to the Raiders last year and seemed on their way to another blowout loss.
Instead, they marched 74 yards on their next possession, converting two fake punts and converting on another fourth down before quarterback Noah Gould floated a 41-yard touchdown pass to Kelley Noetzel with 1:18 before halftime.
"We knew they were a different team this year, and we knew they weren't ever going to give up,"
Chapel said of the Grey Ghosts.
Chapel started the final minute fireworks by returning the kickoff to the IVC 47. McCaughey then found Chapel for completions of 13 and 19 yards. He then hit Chapel one more time with a 15-yard TD strike with 51 seconds left before halftime.
"At that point, we're going to go for it, no matter where the ball is," QND coach Bill Connell said. "What Chapel did (on the kickoff) was a great added bonus. It gave us a half of a field to work with."
With the score at 24-7, Chapel admitted he was ready for the halftime break.
"Once I scored, I came over and said, ‘Coach, I'm ready to take my wristband (with the plays written on it) off," he said.
However, after a touchback and a 12-yard completion on first down, Gould's next pass was picked off by Welper near the IVC bench. He ran all the way to the QND side of the field and scored with 26 seconds before halftime.
"I probably should have taken a knee," Grey Ghosts coach Tim Heinz said. "Hindsight is always 20-20, but you've got to work on stuff."
Welper wasn't done.
He caught a 19-yard TD pass, McCaughey's fourth of the game, on the Raiders' first possession of the second half. Then, in the fourth quarter, Welper let a long pass from McCaughey go through his hands on third and 24 but atoned for his mistake on the next play from scrimmage. He intercepted another Gould pass, returning this one 44 yards for a touchdown.
"I was just able to get a good read," Welper said. "I just saw the quarterback rolling out, he looked at the receiver, and the rest was just easy."
McCaughey finished 13-of-21 passing for 200 yards, and junior Daylin Anders rushed for 164 yards. The Raiders have piled up 145 points in their last three games.
"When teams see our film, they're going to see we have a running attack, Joe with a great arm, and Barry and I on the outside," said Chapel, who caught six passes for 93 yards. "We have so many weapons on this team, I think we can make a long run."