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Balanced Hornets breeze 52-12

Coal Grove Hornets’ Jake Murphy makes a catch in a crowd as he takes the ball from Fairland defenders Chad Fisher (4) and Alex Guzman (22). Coal Grove won the OVC matchup 52-12. (The Ironton Tribune /Courtesy Joe Stevens of FJSphoto.com)

PROCTORVILLE — It sounds simple. Establish the run and set up the pass.

The Coal Grove Hornets made it look simple.

The Hornets used their ground game to run for 252 yards and quarterback Alex Bare completed all six of his passes for 173 yards and two scores as Coal Grove breezed past the Fairland Dragons 52-12 Friday to remain unbeaten in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Coal Grove’s win coupled with Chesapeake 48-21 victory over South Point sets up a season-ending showdown for first place in the conference. The Hornets play at Chesapeake on Friday with both teams 4-0 in the OVC.

“First we took away their run and forced them to throw the ball. Our (secondary) reacted to the ball real well,” said Hornets’ coach Dave Lucas.

The secondary came up with four interceptions that all led to touchdowns — one a 61-yard return by Jake Murphy for a score. On the other end, the Hornets passing stretched the Dragons’ defense to help open up the running game.

“We have two or three kids who can catch the ball. We feel we can do that well enough. It’s part of our offense. You have to be able to do that to be successful in the playoffs unless you can run the ball really well,” said Lucas.

Coal Grove (8-1) got its first touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Bare to Bryan Steele with 9:43 left in the first quarter and it was 6-0.

Boo Woods ran one yard for a touchdown to make it 12-0 and an interception led to Woods’ 41-yard touchdown run three minutes later and it was 18-0.

The Hornets’ had a drive deep into Fairland territory when Greg Bender fumbled. But Bare picked up the ball at the 13-yard line and ran in and it was 24-0.

Fairland (3-6, 2-2) got on the board with four minutes left in the half on a 55-yard pass from Chad Fisher to Alex Guzman.

But Coal Grove took control in the third quarter thanks to its secondary as they picked off three passes.

Woods 5-yard run and Bender’s conversion opened up a 32-6 lead. After an interception, Bare found Murphy on a 38-yard touchdown pass and it was 38-6.

“We had every pass covered but they just out-muscled us for the ball. We just didn’t show up. We got down and had to throw the ball. They were just stronger than us,” said Fairland coach Dave Carroll.

Murphy came up with an interception return on the next series and Bubba Wood kicked the extra point for a 45-6 cushion.

Jordan Beals had a 1-yard scoring run just before the end of the quarter and it was 52-6.

Fairland completed the scoring on an 18-yard scamper by Evan Maddox with 2:03 to play.

Woods rushed 10 times for 82 yards and three scores to lead a balanced ground game. Wood had 72 yards on 11 attempts as 11 different Hornets carried the ball.

Maddox had nine carries for 62 yards. The Dragons had 208 total yards with 107 coming on the ground.

Coal Grove 18 6 27 0 = 52

Fairland 0 6 0 6 = 12

First Quarter

CG — Bryan Steele 14 pass from Alex Bare (kick failed) 9:43

CG — Boo Woods 1 run (pass failed) 6:18

CG — Boo Woods 41 run (pass failed) 3:58

Second Quarter

CG — Alex Bare 13 fumble recovery (pass failed) 5:28 Bender fumbled

Fa — Alex Guzman 55 pass from Chad Fisher (kick failed) 4:00

Third Quarter

CG — Boo Woods 5 run (Greg Bender run) 10:23

CG — Jake Murphy 38 pass from Alex Bare (run failed) 6:39

CG — Jake Murphy 61 interception return (Bubba Wood kick) 5:47

CG — Jordan Beals 1 run (Bubba Wood kick) 1:34

Fourth Quarter

Fa — Evan Maddox 18 run (run failed) 2:03

CG Fa

First downs 21 10

Rushes-yards 48-252 31-107

Passing yards 173 101

Total yards 425 208

Cmp-Att-Int 6-6-0 7-19-4

Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0

Punts-average 1-30.0 4-28.2

Penalties-yards 6-55 9-81

Individual Leaders

RUSHING-Coal Grove: Bubba Wood 11-72, Boo Woods 10-82, Greg Bender 5-29, Jake Murphy 5-18, Alex Bare 2-15, Brandon Hogsten 3-21, Kyle Estep 1-13, Mike Nance 2-31, Jake Jewell 1-1, Cody Pennington 1-2, Jordan Beals 3-18; Fairland: Jon Baise 3-7, Chad Fisher 5-minus 7, Tanner Sowards 11-34, Tyree Ceaser 1-8, Evan Maddox 9-62, Kyle Sowards 2-3.

PASSING-Coal Grove: Alex Bare 6-6-0 173; Fairland: Chad Fisher 3-12-3 66, Jon Baise 4-7-1 35.

RECEIVING-Coal Grove: Bryan Steele 4-108, Jake Murphy 2-65; Fairland: Jon Holbrook 1-13, Alec Warner 2-11, Evan Maddox 1-14, Alex Guzman 1-55, Chad Fisher 1-6, Tanner Sowards 1-2.