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Hornets’ clutch defensive plays beat Raiders

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

CHESHIRE — The Coal Grove Hornets played tough in the clutch.

The Hornets moved the ball on offense although they didn’t finish drives. But the defense stepped up with big stops to help preserve a 20-13 win over the River Valley Raiders in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday.

The Hornets (4-3, 3-0) rolled up 381 total yards including 261 on the ground. But it was a defensive play by Jordan Beals that prevented the upset.

After two potential scoring drives came up short, the Hornets turned to their defense as River Valley began a drive with 3:58 to play.

The Raiders (1-7, 0-3) went from their 20 to the 41 only to have a penalty help stall the drive and force a fourth-and-9 at the 36.

Quarterback Austin Whobrey launched a long pass for Austin Davies only to have Beals deflect the ball just before it reached the receiver. Coal Grove then ran out the clock to secure the win.

The Hornets opened the game with a 58-yard, six-play drive that ended on a 23-yard scoring pass from Alex Bare to Bryan Steele. Kyle Estep ran for the conversion and it was 8-0 at the 9:26 mark.

After a Raiders’ punt, Coal Grove got the ball back at its 27 and went on an 11-play drive that ended on Greg Bender’s 2-yard scoring run. The conversion run failed and it was 14-0.

Bender finished the game with 122 yards on 21 carries.

Even though the Hornets held a commanding 182-30 advantage in total yards at the half, the lead remained 14-0.

River Valley finally got going on its second possession of the second half. Backed up on its own 4-yard line, the Raiders used three plays to get a first down at the 28. It was only their third first down of the game.

On the next play Whobrey’s pass was deflected but Trey Noble made the catch and went 72 yards for the touchdown and it was 14-7 with 2:12 on the clock.

The Hornets answered with a 56-yard, four-play drive as Bender pounded into the end zone from 2 yards out and it was 20-7 with 37 seconds left in the third quarter.

River Valley returned the kickoff to the Hornets’ 45 and four plays later Patrick Williams ran 27 yards for the score and it was 20-13 with 11:16 to play.

That set the stage for the big defensive play by the Hornets.

River Valley had a 34-yard touchdown pass to Noble with 11:01 on the third quarter clock negated by an illegal block penalty.

Coal Grove also had 120 yards passing as Bare hit 6 of 10 passes. Steele caught three passes for 85 yards and Beals had three grabs for 35. Estep added 81 yards rushing on 16 attempts.

Whobrey was 5 of 9 passing for 115 yards. Williams ran 21 times for 95 yards.

Coal Grove 14 0 6 0 = 20

River Valley 0 0 7 6 = 13

First Quarter

CG – Bryan Steele 23 pass from Alex Bare (Kyle Estep run) 9:26

CG – Greg Bender 2 run (run failed) 0:20

Third Quarter

RV – Trey Noble 72 pass from Austin Whobrey (Jacob Leach kick) 2:12

CG – Greg Bender 2 run (pass failed) 0:37

Fourth Quarter

RV – Patrick Williams 27 run (kick blocked) 11:16

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CG RV

First downs 18 7

Rushes-yards 50-261 27-86

Passing yards 120 115

Total yards 381 201

Cmp-Att-Int 6-10-0 5-9-0

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0

Penalties-yards 9-71 7-40

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING–Coal Grove: Greg Bender 21-122, Kyle Estep 16-81, Alex Bare 10-40, Isaiah Gunther 2-21, Jordan Beals 1-minus 3; River Valley: Patrick Williams 21-95, Austin Whobrey 4-minus 4, Trey Noble 2-minus 5.

PASSING–Coal Grove: Alex Bare 6-10-0 120; River Valley: Austin Whobrey 5-9-0 115.

RECEIVING–Coal Grove: Bryan Steele 3-85, Jordan Beals 3-35; River Valley: Trey Noble 2-90, Ethan Dovenbarger 2-11, Austin Davies 1-14.