Dragons worried about Hornets’ ground game

Published 3:11 am Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fairland coach Dave Carroll is looking for a loophole. Certainly there has to be some kind of physical abuse law that applies to high school football.

Carroll is worried about the power running game of the Coal Grove Hornets who play his Dragons Friday in a key Ohio Valley Conference game.

As usual, Coal Grove uses its big offensive line to help generate a punishing, time-consuming running game.

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“The thing that worries me is our kids getting pounded on and pounded on play after play and getting worn down,” said Carroll.

“It’s kind of like last year. They pound and pound, get a crease and their backs slip through and go.”

Last year the Hornets won 20-0 but the game was scoreless at the half. Carroll said the Dragons must go battle in the trenches and avoid mistakes.

“We can’t turn the ball over and have penalties. We can’t have any breakdowns,” said Carroll.

The game will go a long way toward determining the league champion. Coal Grove is unbeaten in the league along with Chesapeake. The two teams meet next week in the regular season finale.

Fairland (3-5) lost to Chesapeake last week and is now 2-1 in the league. The Dragons must win and hope for a Hornets’ win next week to secure a share of the title.

“I think our mood has been somewhat relaxed, but on the other hand we know what’ at stake. We’re still playing for a tie of the league title,” said Carroll. “There’s no game that’s going to be easy in the league and Coal Grove is definitely a big challenge.”

Coal Grove (7-1) not only needs to keep winning for a fourth straight league title but to stay in playoff contention.

Hornets’ coach Dave Lucas isn’t being fooled by the pre-game hype. He’s aware of the Dragons’ talent led by the versatile Chad Fisher and their offensive tactics.

“(Fisher) is an outstanding athlete. You play to contain him, but you have to play team defense. It’s 11 against 11, not one against one,” said Lucas.

“They’re still trying to do the same thing. They go spread, then go tight, the spread and then tight just trying to get you out of position. Their coach does a good job of getting you out of position.”

Carroll said the Hornets aren’t without their own talent. Besides the big offensive line, he noted the Hornets have a strong one-two running punch of fullback Bubba Wood and tailback Boo Woods.

“They’re just as big and strong as Portsmouth West and Wheelersburg. We’ve watched several films on them and they’re pretty good up front,” said Carroll. “They have backs who run hard and their quarterback (Alex Bare) is deceptive. We have to be on our toes and play a good game.”

Lucas said the Dragons have some size of their own.

“They have some good kids up front. But we’re used to playing against size. Athens was big. Greenup County was huge,” said Lucas.

“It’s like any other game. I think this game comes down to execution on offense and the team who plays the best defense.”

In last year’s game, Coal Grove took a 14-0 lead in the third quarter.

Fairland came back with a drive to the Hornets’ 30-yad line, but Woods came up with an interception to end the drive.

Later, an interception by Evan Ferguson set up Coal Grove’s final touchdown.

The Dragons must be able to get some balance in their offense in an effort to beat the Hornets this time.

“We need to take a page out of their book and have a few drives to keep the ball out of their hands and keep them from pounding on us,” said Carroll.