COAL GROVE — Poised to earn its first outright Ohio Valley Conference championship since 1996, the Coal Grove Hornets used a second half surge to defeat the Fairland Dragons 20-0.
As the final horn sounded, the Hornets huddled around coach Dave Lucas and in a collective voice started the chant of “OVC, OVC, OVC.” Adding to the celebration, the win all but secured the Hornets’ first playoff appearance since 1996.
“It is always good when you have a good group of seniors, and it is good to be able to send them out this way,” said Lucas. “They have earned what they got because they have worked very hard, and I am extremely proud of our entire team.”
“This is more than I could have ever asked for. We have such a good team concept, and everyone knows what they needed to do. This is such a great feeling because we have all worked so hard to get where we are,” Coal Grove running back Oakie Haynes said.
After both defenses pitched a shutout in the first half, Coal Grove forced a Fairland punt to open the second half. The Hornets struck the first blow of the game when Haynes took a handoff off right tackle, broke free from the Dragons’ defense and sprinted down the sideline for a 72-yard touchdown on its first offensive play of the third quarter.
The two-point conversion was no good, and the score was 6-0 with 9:48 to go in the third.
After forcing a Fairland turnover on downs, Coal Grove added to the lead going 59 yards in 13 plays and was capped off by a Haynes’ 15-yard score. Frank Delawder ran in the two-point conversion and it was 14-0 with 1:25 to go in the third quarter.
In all, the drive took 5:35 off the clock.
Fairland (6-4, 3-2) took over their next drive that spilled over into the fourth quarter. However, on the third play of the quarter, Coal Grove’s Boo Woods intercepted Fairland quarterback Chad Fisher and returned it 11 yards to set the Hornets up at their own 41-yard line.
After moving into Dragons’ territory, Delawder was stripped of the ball and Fairland recovered. However, after a penalty on first down, Coal Grove’s Steven Boyd sacked Fisher for a loss of six. Two plays later, Evan Ferguson intercepted Fisher’s pass and gave Coal Grove the ball at its own 27.
On the first play, Haynes set the final score in a mirror of his first touchdown as he took a handoff off right tackle and broke free down the sideline for a 73-yard score. The two-point try was no good and the final was set at 20-0.
Haynes finished the game with 237-yards on 18-carries.
“We knew that play would be there when we saw it on film, but we could just not get it right in the first half. We went into halftime and made some adjustments, and the line was able to get those holes open for me in the second half,” Haynes said.
“I have to give all the credit to the offensive line because they work so hard and make it possible for me to get the runs I do.”
Fairland would move down to the Coal Grove 7-yard line as the game ended. Fisher led the Dragons offense with 66 yards on 13 carries. Eric Riley added 55 yards on 8 carries.
The Hornets (9-1, 5-0) defense carried their share, as they held the potent Fairland offense in check. The Dragons (6-4, 3-2) only gained 209 yards of total offense and was shut out for the first time this season. In all, the Coal Grove defense had three quarterback sacks, a forced fumble, and two interceptions.
“This is by far the best defensive game we have played all year, and that is because this is one of the best offenses we have played all year” Lucas said.
Delawder added 65 yards on 15 carries for the Hornets.
Playoff pairings will be announced Sunday afternoon. Coal Grove could play at Oak Hill in the first round.
Fairland 0 0 0 0 = 0
Coal Grove 0 0 14 6 = 20
CG — Oakie Haynes 72 run (run failed) 9:48
CG — Oakie Haynes 15 run (Frank Delawder run) 1:25
CG — Oakie Haynes 73 run (run failed) 7:51
First downs 12 14
Rushes-yards 38-165 49-347
Passing yards 44 14
Total yards 209 361
Cmp-Att-Int 6-11-2 1-1-0
Penalties-yards 3-20 3-30
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 5-4
Punts-average 3-34.0 2-31.5
RUSHING–Fairland: Chad Fisher 13-66, Eric Riley 8-55, Matt Bloomfield 10-24, Tyler Duty 5-17, Tanner Sowards 2-3; Coal Grove: Oakie Haynes 18-237, Frank Delawder 15-65, Boo Woods 9-25, Evan Ferguson 6-21, Team 1-minus 1.
PASSING–Fairland: Chad Fisher 6-11-44; Coal Grove: Evan Ferguson 1-1-14.
RECEIVING–Fairland: Kyle Taubenheim 2-27, Eric Riley 1-8, Javier Roe 2-6, Matt Bloomfield 1-3; Coal Grove: Shawn Morrison 1-14.