Oaks beat Hornets in Div. V playoffs
OAK HILL — Coach Dave Lucas was hoping his Coal Grove Hornets would play hard and get a few breaks.
They got one break, but the second break was the one that broke their backs as they fell 42-14 to the Oak Hill Oaks Friday in the Division V Region 19 quarterfinals.
The Hornets recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff at the Oak Hill 25-yard line for the break they wanted.
But four plays later, senior quarterback Evan Ferguson broke his arm and changed the entire complexion of the game.
As a result of the injury, the Oaks went from having to defending a balanced offense to playing a 6-3 on defense. To compound matters, the Hornets fumbled eight times and lost five to erase any hopes of a win.
“This would have been a high-scoring game if we would have been at full speed,” said Hornets’ coach Dave Lucas.
“I don’t know that we would have beat them. They’re a good football team. They have good backs and a good, solid defense. I don’t know if having our quarterback would have changed the outcome, but if their quarterback breaks his arm I would think the outcome would have been different.”
Coal Grove (9-2) got two yards on two plays after recovering the opening kickoff fumble, but then Ferguson hit Frank Delawder for 14 yards to the Oaks 9-yard line and a first-and-goal.
But Ferguson was hit on the next play and suffered a broken arm. Two plays later the Hornets fumbled and the Oaks recovered at the 3-yard line.
Ferguson came into the game 52 of 85 passing for 974 yards and eight touchdowns.
“Without Evan, we were put in situations we’re not used to. Our backs couldn’t get out and put pressure on the corners like we’ve done all year. Without the threat of the passing game they didn’t have to spread out and respect the pass,” said Lucas.
Junior Rye Goodwin, a starter on defense, took over even though he had virtually no game experience this season with the first team offense.
“I give Rye an ‘A’ for effort. He had to come in and play under a lot of pressure. He usually only plays defense so he had to play on both sides of the ball,” said Lucas.
Oak Hill (11-0) took advantage of their early break and dove 97 yards in 14 plays highlighted by a 28-yard pass from Jesse Slone to Joey Maynard to get into Coal Grove territory and then capped by Western Hale’s 9-yard scoring run.
Despite the adversity, the Hornets weren’t about to quit. They took just three plays to answer and wingback Jake Murphy raced 58 yards on a counter play for a touchdown.
Goodwin threw to Delawder for the conversion and Coal Grove led 8-7 with just 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
Oak Hill used a kickoff return by Kyle Ondera to the Hornets’ 33-yard line to set up their next touchdown that gave them the lead for good.
Four plays later Hale ran 6 yards and it was 14-8 with 11:01 left in the half.
Coal Grove controlled the clock with a 10-play drive that stalled at the Oaks’ 46. A Delawder punt went 41 yards to the 5-yard line and left the Oaks with a long field again.
But again the Oaks were able to go the distance in 14 plays with Hale scoring on a 1-yard run with just 27 seconds left in the half and it was 21-8.
Disaster struck at the start of the second half when the Hornets fumbled on the first play and the Oaks recovered at the Coal Grove 43.
Coal Grove’s defense held in two different series, but the Hornets starting field position was their 5- and 2-yard lines.
When Oak Hill got the ball a third time at the Hornets’ 46, Maynard broke free on a third down play for 37 yards and a touchdown to stretch the lead to 28-7.
“That (fumble) was big,” said Lucas. “We had to protect the ball and we couldn’t call anything to get out of the hole.”
Still determined, the Hornets took the ensuing kickoff and drove 68 yards in eight plays to score. Oakie Haynes scooted 27 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter and the Hornets were within 28-14.
But the Oaks kept coming.
This time they drove 76 yards in four plays aided by two unsportsmanlike penalties totaling 27 yards. Slone and Ondera hooked up for the final 11 yards and it was 35-14 with 11:04 to go.
Coal Grove fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and the Oaks scored five plays later on an 8-yard pass to Maynard with 7:55 left to make it 41-14.
The Oaks had 336 total yards as Hale ran 22 times for 127 yards and Slone completed 15-of-20 for 129 yards.
The fumbles meant the Hornets ran just 36 plays for the game and managed 154 total yards — just 10 through the air. Haynes ran 11 times for 92 yards and Delawder had 51 yards on 13 attempts.
Lucas was disappointed with the loss, but said it didn’t overshadow the Hornets’ accomplishments this season including an Ohio Valley Conference championship and their first playoff berth since 1996.
“I’m proud of the way our kids played hard the whole game. They were under adverse conditions,” said Lucas. “I’m proud of the way they played all year. We’ll be back next year.”
Oak Hill — making its first playoff appearance ever — will now play West Lafayette Ridgewood in the regional semifinals.
Coal Grove 8 0 0 6 = 14
Oak Hill 7 14 7 14 = 42
OH — Westen Hale 13 run (Kyle Ondera kick) 1:59
CG — Jake Murphy 58 run (Frank Delawder pass from Rye Goodwin) 0:42
OH — Westen Hale 6 run (Kyle Ondera kick) 11:01
OH — Westen Hale 1 run (Kyle Ondera kick) 0:27
OH — Joey Maynard 37 run (Kyle Ondera kick) 2:24
CG — Oakie Haynes 27 run (pass failed) 11:51
OH — Kyle Ondera 8 pass from Jesse Slone (Kyle Ondera kick) 11:04
OH — Joey Maynard 8 pass from Jesse Slone (Kyle Ondera kick) 7:55
First downs 9 22
Rushes-yards 33-144 33-207
Passing yards 10 129
Total yards 154 336
Cmp-Att-Int 2-3-0 15-20-0
Fumbles-lost 8-5 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-48 8-49
Punts-average 4-39.2 2-42.0
RUSHING—Coal Grove: Oakie Haynes 11-92, Frank Delawder 13-51, Jake Murphy 2-58, Boo Woods 3-minus 4, Rye Goodwin 4-minus 1, Joe Colley 1-1, Team 1-minus 3. Oak Hill: Westen Hale 22-127, Joey Maynard 7-58, Jesse Slone 2-17, Devon Davis 1-5, Travis Bailey 1-0.
PASSING—Coal Grove: Evan Ferguson 1-1-0 14, Rye Goodwin 1-2-0 minus-4. Oak Hill: Jesse Slone 15-20-0 129.
RECEIVING—Coal Grove: Frank Delawder 1-14, Oakie Haynes 1-minus 4. Oak Hill: Josh Maynard 6-57, Kyle Ondera 6-44, Daniel Woods 1-4, Devon Davis 1-9, Westen Hall 1-15.