Coal Grove vs. Rock Hill rivalry matchup of contrasting styles, records

Published 3:51 am Thursday, October 15, 2009

The records are complete opposites. But then, the Coal Grove Hornets and Rock Hill Redmen have always stood opposite of each other.

In one of the area’s classic rivalries, the Hornets appear to be an easy favorite with their 6-1 record overall as well as 2-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Rock Hill is just the opposite at 1-6 but with a 1-1 OVC mark.

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Hornets’ veteran Hall of Fame coach Dave Lucas said to forget the records.

“They just play you tough. They battle you and that’s what you expect from them,” said Lucas.

Rock Hill coach Todd Knipp said his team has been upbeat this week after beating Chesapeake 34-7 last week and ending a 19-game losing streak.

But he said reality quickly returned.

“We were happy to get a win last week, but now we have to play Coal Grove and this is a good team. There’s a reason they were picked to win the league,” said Knipp.

Actually, there are a lot of reasons.

The Hornets have an array of skilled players including quarterback Evan Ferguson, fullbacks Frank Delawder and Bubba Wood, tailbacks Oakie Haynes and Boo Woods, and wingbacks Jake Murphy and Dion Cunningham.

“They have good team speed and good athletes at the skilled positions. This is the best group of skilled players I’ve seen Coal Grove have,” said Knipp.

“The offensive line is good across the front and the quarterback does a nice job spreading the ball around to different receivers. They still run the ball well, but they throw the ball more than in the past.”

Since the rivalry game is being played at Rock Hill, that fact could be in favor of the Redmen.

But Knipp knows there’s more to winning the game than the locations.

“We have to move the ball and not shoot ourselves in the foot. We can’t let their offense stay on the field and make our defense play the whole game,” said Knipp.

Lucas is in his 26th season at Coal Grove and 29th overall. He’s seen plenty of Coal Grove-Rock Hill games and knows what will hold the key.

“It’s going to be wet, so a turnover here or a turnover there could turn the game around,” said Lucas. “The team that minimizes its mistakes and takes advantage of what the other team is giving them is the team that will win.”