Hornets’ ball-control offense beats Dragons
PROCTORVILLE — The scoreboard clock at Jim Mayo Stadium might belong to the Fairland Dragons, but the Coal Grove Hornets owned it Friday night.
Coal Grove dominated the time of possession and more than doubled the number of running plays as the Hornets beat the Fairland Dragons 28-8 in an Ohio Valley Conference game.
The Hornets (4-3, 3-0) ran 69 times for 311 yards and racked up 24 first downs. Fairland (3-5, 1-2) ran the ball 33 times for73 yards.
“We’ve got kids in there who can block. Even when they stack the box, it’s important to have those backs (blocking for each other). When kids get tired, someone else comes in and they get mad if they have to come out,” said Hornets’ coach Dave Lucas.
Fairland coach Dave Carroll said the Hornets ability to convert seven third-and-long situations and control the clock were the difference in the game.
“They just controlled the clock. We never got the ball. They just ran the ball and we just couldn’t stop it,” said Carroll.
“We couldn’t stop them on third downs. They’ve got those big linemen who just push you around. There were times I couldn’t see what was happening because their linemen were so big they blocked your view.”
Coal Grove ran seven minutes off the clock on its first possession that failed to produce a score.
However, they returned a punt to the Fairland 24 and five plays later Tanner Murphy scored on a 1-yard run. Isaiah Gunther added the conversion run for an 8-0 lead.
The Hornets went back to ball-control in the second quarter with a 90-yard, 15-play drive that culminated on a 5-yard run by Murphy. Alex Bare threw to Murphy for the conversion and it was 16-0 with 4:30 left in the half.
Lucas gambled on a fourth down play at the Hornets’ own 23 and came up short. Fairland quarterback Chance Short threw to Nathan Campbell on the next play for a touchdown with 1:06 on the clock.
Short hit Luke Phillips on the conversion and it was 16-8.
But after Fairland went three-and-out to begin the second half, Coal Grove took over and chewed up 72 yards in 12 plays to score. Brandon Hogsten ran 10 yards for the touchdown and it was 22-8 with 4:50 on the clock.
“The third quarter drive was really huge. It was the turning point in the game. We regained control and then we finished strong,” said Lucas.
The Hornets put the game away with a 72-yard, 9-play drive in the fourth quarter. Kyle Estep ran the final yard for the clinching score with 2:03 left.
“I really felt with seven minutes to go that we still had a chance to win,” said Carroll. “But they just got the ball and kept eating up the clock.”
Estep led the Hornets with 121 yards on 27 carries. Hogsten added 90 yards on 15 attempts. Bare ran for 33 yards and was 3 of 7 passing for 42 yards, all clutch third down passes to Sean Paulus.
“We had the coverage but Bare just threaded it in there,” said Carroll.
Tyree Ceasar ran six times for 53 yards for the Dragons. Short was 7 of 18 passing for 79 yards but was picked twice.
Coal Grove 8 8 6 6 = 28
Fairland 0 8 0 0 = 8
CG — Tanner Murphy 1 run (Isaiah Gunther run) 1:33
CG — Tanner Murphy 5 run (Tanner Murphy pass from Alex Bare) 4:30
Fa — Nathan Campbell 23 pass from Chance Short (Luke Phillips pass from Short) 1:06
CG —Brandon Hogsten 10 run (run failed) 4:50
CG — Kyle Estep 1 run (run failed) 2:03
First downs 24 5
Rushes-yards 69-311 33-73
Passing yards 42 79
Total yards 353 152
Cmp-Att-Int 3-7-0 7-18-2
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties 6-50 3-30
RUSHING—Coal Grove: Kyle Estep 27-121, Alex Bare 10-33, Isaiah Gunthere 10-43, Brandon Hogsten 15-90, Tanner Murphy 7-24; Fairland: Tyree Ceasar 6-53, Chance Short 4-7, Nathan Campbell 3-4, Kyle Sowards 2-9.
PASSING—Coal Grove: Ale Bare 3-7-0 42; Fairland: Chance Short 7-18-2 79.
RECEIVING—Coal Grove: Sean Paulus 3-42; Fairland: Tyree Ceasar 2-13, Natrhan Campbell 2-30, Kyle Sowards1-11, Cody Midkiff 2-35.