Coal Grove, Waverly face must-win game

Published 2:12 am Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jim Walker


COAL GROVE — It’s only midseason on the schedule, but this game will have a big effect on the postseason.

Two teams in the early playoff hunt will meet in a must-win game on Friday as the Coal Grove Hornets host the Waverly Tigers.

The Hornets (2-2) come into the game ranked 12th in Region 21 of Division VI of the Ohio High School Athletic Association computer ratings.

Waverly (2-2) is 10th in Region 17 of Div. V. Not only do the Tigers have Coal Grove this week, they must play unbeaten Lucasville Valley and Wheelersburg back-to-back.

The Tigers were just 3-7 last season and are coming off a heart-breaking 29-27 loss to Portsmouth.

Trailing 29-21 with time on the clock for one final play, quarterback R.J. Perkins threw a 48-yard desperation pass to Mason Chapman for a touchdown as time expired.

But Devon Rigsby was stopped short of the goal line on the potential game-tying extra point as Portsmouth held on for the win.

Waverly racked up 458 total yards in the loss with 345 coming on the ground. Rigsby ran 31 times for 192 yards and three touchdowns.

Tigers’ linebacker Cade Marquez had an interception.

Coal Grove is coming off a tough 48-32 loss at high-powered Raceland.

Running back Isaiah Gunther has 54 carries for 354 yards and seven touchdowns. Austin Ruggles has 290 yards on 43 attempts and fullback Tanner Murphy 27 attempts for 191 yards.

The Hornets’ have their own Rigsby in quarterback Jesse Rigsby who is 14 of 39 on the season for 271 yards. He also ran 14 times for 101 yards.

Gunther has three receptions for 95 yards including a 59-yard touchdown catch and run last week.

A key matchup will be up front as Coal Grove senior lineman Austen Pleasants (6-8, 310) goes against Waverly’s Connor Smith (6-60, 310). Both are four-year starters.

Coal Grove won last year’s meeting 35-27 on the road.