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Fairland creates 3-way tie for OVC title

Roger Snyder came out of retirement for one more season, and he coached his final game Friday night.

If the Fairland Dragons are going to play like this all of the time, he might want to reconsider.

The Dragons were doing everything right as they rolled past the Coal Grove Hornets 41-6 and threw the Ohio Valley Conference into a three-way championship.

“The way we played tonight, we could have beaten anyone on our schedule,” said Snyder. “We played great defense. We moved the ball. We just did everything right.”

Fairland, Coal Grove and South Point — a 50-14 winner over Chesapeake — all finished with 3-1 league records. Fairland ends 4-5 overall and Coal Grove 6-4.

“It feels great,” Snyder said of winning a share of the OVC. “To start the year 0-4 and wondering if what you’re doing is right, and then come back to win four of your last five is great for the kids and great for the coaches.”

The key for the Dragons came from an unexpected area: defense. Fairland held the Hornets’ power game to 172 total yards — all on the ground. Coal Grove had only 65 yards in the second half.

Snyder praised the defense and gave some credit to assistant coaches John McClung and Bryan Ward for the defensive plan to jam the line of scrimmage.

“We started out in a four and they were hurting us, so we went to a combination of a four and five. Coach McClung and Coach Ward came up with it during the week,” said Snyder.

Blayne Cornwell continued his strong running down the stretch as he carried 18 times for 101 yards. Quarterback Cole Hatfield ran for 62 yards and also completed 7-of-12 passes for 120 yards.

Fairland had 340 total yards of offense.

Cornwell gave Fairland a 6-0 lead with a 23-yard run late in the first quarter.

A 42-yard punt return by Aaron Ward inside the 15-yard line set up a 12-yard scoring run by Cornwell with 9:04 left in the second quarter. Hatfield passed to Chad Fisher for the conversion.

Hatfield and Ward teamed up on a 34-yard scoring strike and Nathan Burcham kicked the conversion as the lead grew to 21-0.

Coal Grove blocked a punt and three plays later Oakie Haynes ran 21 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-6.

Fairland answered with a 2-yard touchdown run by Cornwell and it was 28-6.

Ward had a 32-yard punt return and two plays later Hatfield threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Lawhorn and it was 35-6 with 4:08 left in the third quarter.

Ward ran 23 yards for the Dragons’ final touchdown with 2:21 left to play.

Haynes led the Hornets with 80 yards on 11 carries and Bubba Wood ran 14 times for 59 yards.

Coal Grove 0 0 6 0 = 6

Fairland 6 15 14 6 = 41

First Quarter

Fa – Blayne Cornwell 23 run (kick failed) 4:23

Second Quarter

Fa – Blayne Cornwell 12 run (Chad Fisher pass from Cole Hatfield) 9:04 42-yard punt return by Aaron Ward

Fa – Aaron Ward 34 pass from Cole Hatfield (Nathan Burcham kick) 0:32

Third Quarter

CG – Oakie Haynes 21 run (run failed) 10:11 after blocked punt three plays

Fa – Blayne Cornwell 2 run (Nathan Burcham kick) 7:35

Fa – Kyle Lawhorn 15 pass from Cole Hatfield (Nate Burcham kick) 4:08 32-yard Ward punt return set up a two-play drive

Fourth Quarter

Fa – Aaron Ward 23 run (kick failed) 2:21

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CG Fa

First downs 10 19

Rushes-yards 172 220

Passing yards 0 120

Total yards 172 340

Cmp-Att-Int 0-5-0 7-12-0

Fumbles-lost 5-1 3-1

Penalties-yards 7-67 4-40

Punts-average 5-33.0 3-25.0

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING–Coal Grove: Bubba Wood 14-59, Frank Delawder 11-41, Oakie Haynes 11-80, Chris Brammer 1-2, Jake Murphy 1-minus 2, Rob Barnette 1-2, Dion Cunningham 2-minus 5, Wayne Sparks 4-minus 5. Fairland: Cole Hatfield 8-62, Blayne Cornwell 18-101, Bloomfield 3-36, Chad Fisher 2-0, Aaron Ward 1-23, Alex Thackston 1-minus 2.

PASSING–Coal Grove: Wayne Sparks 0-4-0, Rye Goodwin 0-1-0. Fairland: 7-12-0 120.

RECEIVING–Coal Grove: None. Fairland: Aaron Ward 2-47, Matt Bloomfield 2-28, Chad Fisher 2-30, Kyle Lawhorn 1-15.