Pirates hold on to edge Hornets , 28-22
COAL GROVE — Just like a prize fight, the Coal Grove Hornets and Wheelersburg Pirates kept exchanging blows.
When the final bell rang, the Pirates survived the Hornets’ counter punches as they escaped with a 28-22 win.
“The missed opportunity were the difference,” said Hornets’ coach Dave Lucas. “Our first dirve we get to the 5-yard line and fumble it. That might have made it a different game.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Wheelersburg (1-1) went up 7-0 on quarterback Eddie Miller’s 8-yard run and Keith Thurmer’s conversion kick.
Coal Grove (1-1) bounced off the canvas and came right back with a 75-yard pass play from Alex Bare to Kyle Estep and it was 7-6.
The Pirates went up 14-6 when Miller converted a fourth-and-goal play by hitting Tyler Claxon with a 17-yard touchdown pass.
But again the Hornets answered as Tanner Murphy shot through the Pirates’ defense on a 4-yard scoring run. Bare ran for the conversion and the game was tied with 35 seconds left in the first half.
Wheelersburg appeared to be taking control of the game when Miller scored on touchdown runs of 12 and 6 yards in the second half for a 28-14 lead, but Coal Grove kept driving.
The Hornets’ drive stalled at the 4-yard line, but they forced a punt and got the ball back in Wheelersburg territory.
Bare then hit Conor Markins with a 42-yard touchdown pass with under a minute to play. The conversion pass to Aaron Wilson cut the deficit to 28-22.
“Those were two really good football teams out there,” said Lucas.
“Alex did a good job and our offensive line did a good job. Kyle Estep had a good ball game and Tanner Murphy had a good game on defense.”
The Hornets tried an onside kickoff but the Pirates recovered and ran out the clock.
The Hornets had 294 total yards with a balanced offense. Bare was 10 of 16 passing for 183 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Hornets rushed for 134 yards.
Wheelersburg finished with 346 total yards including 202 on the ground. Miller was 10 of 17 passing for 166 yards and two interceptions.
Wheelersburg 0 14 7 7 = 28
Coal Grove 0 14 0 8 = 22
Wh — Eddie Miller 8 run (Keith Thurmer kick)
CG — Kyle Estep 75 pass from Alex Bare (pass failed)
Wh — Tyler Claxon 17 pass from Eddie Miller (Keith Thurmer kick)
CG — Tanner Murphy 4 run (Alex Bare run)
Wh — Eddie Miller 12 run (Keith Thurmer kick)
Wh — Eddie Miller 6 run (Keith Thurmer kick)
CG — Conor Markins 42 pass from Alex Bare (Aaron Wilson pass from Bare)
First downs 21 15
Rushes-yards 41-202 31-134
Passing yards 166 183
Total yards 346 294
Cmp-Att-Int 10-17-2 10-16-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-55 7-44
Punts-average 3-35.3 2-32.0