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Fairland shuts down Hornets running game

COAL GROVE — This time the defense took the spotlight.

So far this season the Fairland Dragons have given up nearly 30 points a game. Meanwhile, the offense has scored nearly 35 points per outing.

That had to change with the Dragons facing the strong running game of the Coal Grove Hornets to open Ohio Valley Conference play Friday.

It did.

Fairland limited the Hornets to 210 yards — all on the ground — and the offense turned from its passing game to running the ball in a 34-13 win.

“We knew if we could stop the run we could win the game. We kept them in tack and we won the game,” said Fairland coach Brent Wilcoxon.

“The kids and coach (Tim) Fisher did a good job. To shut down that running attack is saying something.”

Fairland opened the game by moving to the Hornets’ 21, but a 15-yard loss on fourth down ended the drive.

Two plays later Jacob Jenkins bolted 57 yards for a touchdown and the Hornets were up 6-0.

Fairland came back to take the lead with a 66-yard drive highlighted by Cole Hatfield’s 23-yard run and a 21-yard dash by Matt Bloomfield. Chad Fisher went 12 yards for the score and Nate Burcham’s kick made it 7-6.

“We were out of sync the first quarter. We had bad snaps, three motion penalties, lined up wrong, you name it. We were just shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Wilcoxon.

The Dragons began a drive on the first play of the second quarter and used a 59-yard pass from Hatfield to Fisher that set up a 1-yard run by Jordan Kersey to make it 13-6.

Coal Grove (3-2) answered with a quick 65-yard, 6-play drive. Frank Delawder ran 34 yards to the Dragons 4 and scored on the next play. Taylor Dean kicked the point after and the game was tied.

The Hornets had the ball with under two minutes to play at the 33. On second down, Michael Lamb picked off a Coal Grove pass and returned it 45 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

“That was a big play. Michael clutched up,” said Wilcoxon.

Fairland (3-3) took over in the third quarter with two touchdowns.

Kersey ran 7 yards for a score to cap a 68-yard, 11-play drive.

Hatfield passed 25 yards for a score on the first play after a fumble recovery to extended the lead to 34-13.

After three straight close losses to Coal Grove, Wilcoxon was just happy to get a win.

“We got the monkey off our back,” said Wilcoxon.

Coal Grove had just 70 yards offense in the second half.

Fairland713140=34

Coal Grove6700=13

First Quarter

CG— Jacob Jenkins 57 run (kick failed) 7:28

Fa — Chad Fisher 12 run (Nate Burcham kick) 2:31

Second Quarter

Fa — Jordan Kersey 1 run (kick failed) 6:18

CG — Frank Delawder 4 run (Taylor Dean kick) 3:49

Fa — Michael Lamb 45 interception return (Burcham kick) 1:43

Third Quarter

Fa — Kersey 7 run (Burcham kick) 6:04

Fa — Kersey 21 pass from Hatfield (Burcham kick) 4:09

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FaCG

First downs209

Rushes-yards46-22434-210

Passing yards2050

Total yards429210

Cmp-Att-Int8-15-10-5-2

Fumbles-lost1-02-1

Penalties-yards12-874-20

Punts-average2-25.54-32.5

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING—Fairland: Matt Bloomfield 11-75, Cole Hatfield 17-69, Chad Fisher 7-45, Jordan Kersey 10-32, Blayne Cornwell 1-3; Coal Grove: Frank Delawder 15-89, Jacob Jenkins 3-68, Matt Cooper 7-33, Shane Jenkins 4-11, Oakie Haynes 2-8, Zack Murphy 3-1.

PASSING—Fairland: Cole Hatfield 8-14-1 185; Coal Grove: Zack Murphy 0-5-2.

RECEIVING—Fairland: Chad Fisher 1-59, Michael Lamb 2-21, Aaron Ward 2-31, Jordan Kersey 2-78, Matt Bloomfield 1-16; Coal Grove: None.