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Hyland, Hornets rally to beat Fairview, 28-24

COAL GROVE - Some people say it is better to be lucky than good. Justin Hyland was both Friday night for the Coal Grove Hornets.

The senior running back and workhorse scored four touchdowns and all the team's points as the Hornets stung the Fairview (Ky.) Eagles 28-24 in a come-from-behind win, the first victory of the season for Coach Dave Lucas' team.

Hyland was sensational on the ground with 39 carries for 224 yards.

But Hyland's biggest play came through the air. A 50-yard bomb from quarterback Eric Davidson was deflected but still found Hyland in stride as he streaked down the right sidelines and gave the Hornets a 20-16 lead as time expired in the first half.

"I told Eric to lay it up there and I was just going to go up after it," Hyland said.

Coach Lucas said he was hardly surprised at the standout performance.

"(Hyland) is a good player. He is a real good player," Lucas said. "He had the boys up front doing some good work for him, too."

The game didn't start as well as it ended for the Hornets. Coal Grove went three and out on its first possession. Fairview marched down the field, making it to the Hornets' 20-yard line before back-to-back quarterback sacks by senior linebacker Colton Hitchcock shattered the momentum and forced a punt.

Coal Grove capped a 13-play, 86-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by Hyland to set the score at 6-0. The Hornets failed on the two-point conversion attempt right before the end of the quarter.

Neither team could gain an edge in the second quarter until Coal Grove fumbled the ball away at its own 5-yard line. Fairview needed only two plays for Bradlee Jones to find the end zone, making the score 8-6 after the two-point conversion was good.

Suddenly, the defensive struggle became a shootout. The Hornets answered by marching down the field on Hyland's dashes and a key 20-yard completion from Davidson to tight end Tyler Branch. Hyland finished the drive with another 2-yard score to set the margin at 12-8 after another failed conversion.

Hyland praised all 10 offensive linemen that opened huge holes all night long and the defesnse that hustled to the ball for the entire game.

"The line did an excellent job and we executed on every play," Hyland said. "They stayed on their blocks all night."

The Eagles soared back in front with a 6-play, 70-yard touchdown drive and two-point conversion that put them ahead 16-12 with only 25.7 seconds remaining. The Hornets were not done.

Hyland took the kickoff 42 yards straight up the gut across midfield. After a quarterback sack, Davidson found Hyland for the miracle play that was almost an interception. Instead, the Hornets recaptured the lead and momentum.

"Their player got a hand on the ball. It was tipped up but Justin was right there to grab it," Lucas said.

In the second half, neither team could mount a drive until Fairview rumbled for 73 yards on the ground that was capped by Danny Stewart's 1-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles the lead 24-20 with 3:56 left in the quarter.

Still trailing early in the fourth period, the Hornets started chewing up clock and yardage on a 15-play, 95-yard drive that was finished off by, guess who? Yep, Hyland rolled for a 10-yard scoring run and two-point conversion to set what would ultimately be the final score of 28-24.

But the drama wasn't quite over for Lucas' team. Fairview put together a drive and looked to be threatening on a fourth down play at the Hornets 22-yard line.

Coal Grove fans held their breath when the penalty marker hit the field but roared with delight as the referee waved the flag off because the pass was tipped and there was no penalty. Coal Grove took over and looked to ice the game but left Fairview with one last play.

Christian Perkins got the ball at the 25 and crossed midfield and had only two defenders to beat before going down in a pile of black jerseys.

Lucas praised his team for their effort at the end to prevent any heartache and for playing smarter than the opening weekend loss to Piketon.

"We still have got to eliminate the mistakes. We are still dropping the ball too much," he said. "But we didn't jump offsides this week. We did some good blocking up front and played hard."

Fairview01680=24

Coal Grove61408=28

First Quarter

CG

-Justin Hyland 2 run (run failed) 0:23

Second Quarter

Fa – Bradlee Jones 1 run (pass from Bo Barber to Danny Stewart) 6:39

CG – Justin Hyland 2 run (run failed) 2:20

Fa – Bradlee Jones 2 run (Bo Barber run) 0:25

CG – Justin Hyland 50 pass from Eric Davidson (Hyland run) 0:00

Third Quarter

Fa – Danny Stewart 1 run (Christian Perkins run) 3:56

Fourth Quarter

CG

– Justin Hyland 10 run (Hyland run) 6:46

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FaCG

First downs1221

Rushes-yards39-19456-288

Passing yards2270

Total yards 216358

Cmp-Att-Int1-4-0 222-5-0 70

Fumbles-lost2-0 2-2

Punts-average4-362-33

Penalties-yards4-302-10

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Individual leaders

RUSHING -Fairview: Danny Stewart 10-86, Bradlee Jones 15-60, Christian Perkins 6-57, Tyler Whitt 1-2, Matt Jones 1-0, Bo Barber 6-minus 6; Coal Grove: Justin Hyland 39-224, Gary Moore 9-44, Trent Blankenship 6-25, Chris Chaffin 1-1, Eric Davidson 1-minus 6.

PASSING-Fairview: Bo Barber 1-2-0 22, Matt Jones 0-1-0 0, Bradlee Jones 0-1-0 0; Coal Grove: Eric Davidson 2-5-0 70.

RECEIVING-Fairview: Danny Stewart 1-22; Coal Grove: Justin Hyland 1-50, Tyler Branch 1-20.