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Panthers rally past Hornets

CHESAPEAKE – The running game racked up 336 yards, but it was the only pass completion that rescued the Chesapeake Panthers.

A leaping grab by Mike Stapleton gained 36 yards to the Coal Grove 12-yard line with just 32 seconds to play.

Quarterback Aaron Donohoe then ran 7 and 5 yards to score the winning touchdown as the Panthers beat the Coal Grove Hornets 22-14 Friday in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

“Mike made a great play. I thought the ball was picked,” Panthers coach Phil Davis said.

Coal Grove coach Dave Lucas agreed the pass play proved to be the difference along with Donohoe who ran 12 times for 129 yards.

“Their kid just made a nice catch. Their quarterback had a really good game,” Lucas said.

Chesapeake (3-4, 2-0) got the ball at its own 29 with 1:46 to play. Stapleton ran for 4 yards and Kenny Morgan then went 19 yards to the Hornets 48 to set up the final three plays.

Coal Grove (4-3, 1-1) took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard run by Frank Delawder capping a 75-yard, 14-play drive in the first quarter.

The Hornets switched to the T-formation and it forced Davis to adjust.

“It bothered us some because we were playing for other stuff they had done,” Davis said. “We had to changed defenses and switch some personnel and that helped. I thought the defense picked it up in the fourth quarter.”

Lucas said the formation was similar to their I-formation with a wingback.

“We ran some in the past. We thought we had some good depth in the backfield and we wanted to get them involved in the offense. That part worked pretty well,” Lucas said.

Chesapeake came back with its own scoring drive capped by Jaran Bartoe’s 3-yard run for the touchdown. The conversion failed and the Hornets lead was now 7-6.

Coal Grove took a 14-6 lead with 4:10 left in the third quarter on a 20-yard run by Shane Jenkins. Delawder ran four straight plays to set up the scoring run as Coal Grove went 52 yards in just five plays.

Chesapeake drove to the Hornets 6-yard line but fumbled at the 2 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Hornets were unable to move the ball and Chesapeake got the ball back at the Coal Grove 32. Four plays later Donohoe scored from 8 yards out. Kersten Harris battled to score on the conversion run and the game was tied with 8:05 to play.

Coal Grove then marched from its own 45 to the Panthers 26 eating up more than six minutes. A key 15-yard penalty on a third down play helped stopped the threat.

“We had opportunities to win the ball game and we didn’t take advantage of it. We had a couple of penalties at the wrong time to stop a drive.

Chesapeake then took over and got the winning score.

Besides Donohoe, Stapleton had 94 yards on 13 carries and Harris 75 more on 14 attempts.

Delawder rushed 28 times for 119 yards as the Hornets piled up 222 total yards.