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’83 Hornets enjoyed banner year

The 1983 Coal Grove Hornets were the seventh team to go undefeated and untied during the regular season. Coached by Dave Lucas, they finished a perfect 10-0-0. His assistant coaches were Larry Belcher, Steve Cook, Dave Owens, and Gary Salyer.

The offense averaged 26.9 points per game, and the defense allowed 11.7 points per game.

Coal Grove opened the season on September 2, 1983, with a hard fought 20-6 win over the Greenup County Musketeers.

The Hornets avenged a heartbreaking loss to Gallipolis in 1982, soundly defeating the Blue Devils in game two, 40-6. The first time opponent Caldwell Redskins visited Coal Grove for game three with the Hornets prevailing 47-12. The lone score of the night was in the final period as Coal Grove defeated Wheelersburg 8-0 in game four.

Two road games followed with the Hornets defeating Oak Hill 28-0 and South Point 34-14. Coal Grove scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to edge Chesapeake 30-25 in game seven. Symmes Valley, 30-6, and Rock Hill, 33-0, were beaten the next two weeks, setting up the OVC game of the year against Fairland in week 10.

Coal Grove trailed 14-7 at halftime, but scored touchdowns in the third and fourth periods to win 21-14 to preserve the perfect regular season. The Hornets would play two games in the state playoffs, defeating the Belpre Golden Eagles 32-13, before losing to the eventual state champion Columbus Bishop Ready Silver Knights 44-0.

The captains of the 1983 Coal Grove Hornets were John Pennington and Joe Ross. Members of the OVC All-Conference team included: Greg Carmon, Scott Dutey, Steve Murphy, John Pennington, and Joe Ross. The OVC Coach of the Year was Lucas.

All-District selections included: Carmon, Dutey, Leo Johnson, Pennington, and Ross. All-State selections included: Carmon, Dutey, Pennington, and Ross.

Team members as listed in the Coal Grove Hornets Football Records Book 1928-2002 were: Bob Bazell, Aaron Beals, Pat Bokovitz, Bill Boyd, Ryan Butler, Greg Carmon, Chuck Collins, Dan Davis, Gary Dillon, Scott Dutey, Mark Edwards, Jack Evans, David Fields, Tim Fleming, Bryan Fliehman, Dave Galvin, Shawn Gettys, Charlie Goodwin, Rob Goodwin, Tom Hardy, Oakie Haynes, Eric Holmes, Matt Jenkins, Jeff Jewell, Leo Johnson, Tim Johnson, Paul Malone, Bill Markins, Greg Matney, Dave Melvin, Larry Moore, Darren Morgan, Chris Mount, Jordan Mullins, Steve Murphy, Deron Newman, Jerry Norris, Gene Otta, Frank Patterson, Paul Patterson, John Pennington, Mike Preston, Chuck Price, Bill Rigsby, Jere Rigsby, Joe Ross, Chris Sanders, Rob Sanders, Lynn Savitz, Doug Sherman, Anthony Smith, Tony Sparling, Eric Spurlock, Steve Storms, George Thornton, Scott Vaughn, Carl Watson, Curt Webb, Rob Wheeler, Dave Willis, Dean Willis, Tim Willis, Dave Wiseman, and Benny Young.

Mike Nourse is a retired educator and contributing columnist for The Tribune.