Turnovers, Kaskey hurt Panthers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2003

The Ironton Tribuine

CHESAPEAKE - When the Wheelersburg Pirates run the option, there's really only one option they like: quarterback keeper.

Wheelersburg quarterback Tom Kaskey ran 18 times for 193 yards and four touchdown and also threw for another score as the Pirates rolled past the Chesapeake Panthers 40-16 Friday in the Division V Region 19 quarterfinals.

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"Tom Kaskey did a good job of reading the midline and Nathan Timberlake did a good job of faking and that opened it up," Pirates coach Tony Lewis said. "Our first team defense shut them down.

"We came out in a power-I because we wanted to run at them. But the had everyone in tight and that made it hard to run. At that point we decided to spread them out. Their defensive backs play man and our wide receivers did a good job of running their defensive backs off and now they don't see the ball and Tommy's running down the field."

Kaskey used quarterback keepers to baffle the Panthers defense. Chesapeake coach Phil Davis said it was nothing that his team hadn't prepared for all week.

"Against an option team, you have to play your assignment. We have a lot of young kids playing and they started watching the game instead of playing their assignments," Davis said. "On Wednesday we played it perfect. Thursday was a different story, so we didn't know what would happen (Friday)."

What happened to the Panthers was costly turnovers that left them in a deep hole early.

After Cody Hunt ran the opening kickoff back 19 yards to the 31, the Panthers fumbled an option toss on the first play and Wheelersburg recovered.

With the ball at the 34, the Pirates scored 11 plays later on a 4-yard keep by Kaskey on fourth-and-goal. Matt Ruggles kicked the point after for a 7-0 lead.

Chesapeake created a break when Ryan McComas took the ball from Kaskey at the Pirates 30. But more disaster struck on a fourth-and-8 play.

Quarterback Justin Finley was hit as he was about to pass and Alex Peach caught the ball in midair. Peach returned the fumble 69 yards for a touchdown and Ruggles' conversion kick made it 14-0 just before the end of the quarter.

"We turned the ball over on the first play and it takes them about 12 plays to score from the 30, so I feel that's a relatively positive thing. Then we give them two quick (touchdowns). You can't have turnovers or give up easy scores against a good team," Davis said.

Wheelersburg's next score came following a punt that had the ball at the Panthers 48.

Kaskey was hauled down for a 4-yard loss, but on the next play threw a long pass down the left side to Chris Webb who won a jump ball against the Panthers Caleb Robbins. Webb then turned and ran the rest of the way to complete a 52-yard scoring play and it was 20-0.

Kaskey generated the next touchdown with his running. He ran successive keepers for 46 and 40 yards to the Chesapeake 8. He then ran for 4 yards, Timberlake got 2 more, and Kaskey finished off the drive on the next play to make it 26-0 with 3:55 left in the half.

The two teams exchanged punts to begin the second half, and the Pirates were faced with a fourth-and-one. Kaskey used a sneak to squeeze out the first down, then kept and ran 45 yards on the next play for a touchdown. Ruggles kick extended the cushion to 33-0.

Brian Stephenson came up with an interception on the Panthers second play following the ensuing kickoff and ran it back 19 yards to the 17. On fourth-and 6, Kaskey ran 13 yards for not only the first down but a touchdown and it was 40-0.

Chesapeake avoided the shutout with a 61-yard, nine-play drive capped by an 18-yard scoring strike down the middle of the field from Finley to Dustin O'Brien. Finley hit Robbins for the conversion and it was 40-8.

Finley and O'Brien teamed up again with 5:47 to play on a 52-yard touchdown strike. Finley ran for the conversion to set the final score.

Despite the loss, Davis said the Panthers (8-3) should reflect on the positive things this season including another Ohio Valley Conference championship.

"Realistically, they have earned the right to be here and they had to work hard for it," Davis said. "We had a lot of injuries and there were so many kids we had who stepped up. We had an eight-game winning streak and we had to work hard to win."

Wheelersburg (9-2) will play Shenandoah next week.



First Quarter

Wh - Tom Kaskey 4 run (Matt Ruggles kick)


Wh - Alex Peach 69 fumble recovery (Matt Ruggles kick) 1:22

Second Quarter

Wh - Chris Webb 52 pass from Tom Kaskey (kick fail) 11:09

Wh - Tom Kaskey 2 run (pass fail)


Third Quarter

Wh - Tom Kaskey 45 run (Matt Ruggles kick) 6:01

Wh - Tom Kaskey 13 run (Matt Ruggles kick)


Fourth Quarter

Ch - Dustin O'Brien 18 pass from Justin Finley (Caleb Robbins pass from Justin Finley) 10:47

Ch - Dustin O'Brien 52 pass from Justin Finley (Justin Finley run)


First downs: Wheelersburg; Chesapeake126

Rushes-yards: Wheelersburg32-274; Chesapeake37-139

Passing yards: Wheelersburg62; Chesapeake70

Total yards: Wheelersburg209; Chesapeake336

Cmp-Att-Int: Wheelersburg5-9-0; Chesapeake3-10-2

Fumbles-lost: Wheelersburg3-2; Chesapeake3-3

Punts-average: Wheelersburg2-31.0; Chesapeake5-31.8

Penalties-yards: Wheelersburg5-39; Chesapeake2-13

Individual Leaders

RUSHING – Wheelersburg: Tom Kaskey 18-193, Matt Ruggles 5-17, Nathan Timberlake 5-10, Brandon Jackson 1-1, Brian Stephenson 1-4, John Storey 9-16, Brandon White 3-33. Chesapeake: Cody Hunt 16-66, Tristin Clark 10-55, Jackson Caynor 4-minus 1, Justin Finley 6-13, Keith Marcum 1-6.

PASSING – Wheelersburg: Tom Kaskey 5-9-0

62. Chesapeake: Justin Finley 3-9-1


RECEIVING – Wheelersburg: Chris Webb 1-52, Tyler Suter 1-4, Nathan Timberlake 2-4, Cory Chamberlin 1-3. Chesapeake: Dustin O'Brien 2-70, Cody Hunt 1-0.