Hornets grind out win over Vinton County
McARTHUR -- Ball control.
The Coal Grove Hornets hogged the football Friday night as they whipped the Vinton County Vikings 20-6.
Coal Grove rushed 70 times for 399 yards in a dominating performance led by senior tailback Matt Spears who carried 36 times for 221 yards -- both career highs -- and scored two touchdowns.
"Matt did a real nice job making cuts. He starting to learn how to run," Hornets coach Steve Cook said.
Spears' performance overshawdowed a strong effort by Danny Salyers who had 136 yards on 26 carries. The Hornets had 428 total yards while limiting Vinton County to 165 total yards, 129 on the ground.
Cook said the offensive line of center Josh Childers, guards Nick Bazell and Travis Stormes, tackles Dan Cordle and Jimmy Lemon, ends Patrick Roush and Aaron Kelly, and wingbacks Tim Elliott and Gary Moore.
"Our kids played much better than they have been. The line did a much better job of staying with their blocks. And our defense is starting to understand what we want them to do. Justin Hall played well and Coach (John) Jones did a good job calling the right defense in certain situations, and coach (Scott) Dutey helped out a lot with our offense," Cook said.
The night didn't start well for the Hornets. Vinton County returned the opening kickoff 63 yards to the Hornets 30, but Coal Grove stopped the Vikings on downs at the 21.
Coal Grove (2-2) drove to the 8-yard line on its second possession only to fumble the ball away.
But the tide began to turn on the next series.
The Hornets forced another punt and then proceeded to drive 54 yards in nine plays with Spears going the final 6 yards for the touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
In the second half, Coal Grove took the kickoff
and on the third play from scrimmage, Spears broke loose on a 67-yard run.
Vinton County then got a break that gave the Vikings their only touchdown.
Coal Grove stopped Vinton County at the 39, then drove to 44 before fumbling again. This time, the Vikings Dane Raney picked up the loose ball and ran it back 51 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-6.
The Hornets lost the ball on a fumble at the 31 on their next possession and Vinton County drove to the Coal Grove 11. But this time Coal Grove forced a fumble and recovered the ball.
The Hornets then put together an 18-play drive capped by Ben Fyffe's 1-yard run with 2:40 to play and it was 20-6.
CG -- Matt Spears 6 run (run failed) 9:15
CG -- Matt Spears 67 run (Matt Spears run) 10:31
VC -- Dane Raney 51 fumble recovery (run failed) 6:07
CG -- Ben Fyffe 1 run (kick failed) 2:40
RUSHING -- Coal Grove: Matt Spears 36-221, Danny Salyers 26-136, Ryan Turvey 3-23, Ben Fyffe 3-14, Gary Moore 2-5. Vinton County: Chris Bethel 11-84, Curt Moore 9-64, Mike Varney 3-6, Shawn Avery 1-0, Josh Ruggle 3-minus 25.
PASSING -- Coal Grove: Ryan Turvey 2-5-0
29, Matt Spears 0-1-0
0. Vinton County: Josh Ruggle 3-9-0
RECEIVING -- Coal Grove: Patrick Roush 1-22, Matt Spears 1-7. Vinton County: Chris Neal 2-29, Greg Powell 1-7. Jim Walker/The Ironton Tribune