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Hornets, Pirates in marquee matchup

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

It will be power vs. finesse.

The Coal Grove Hornets will rely on their big offensive line and power running game when they host the spread-style offense of the Wheelersburg Pirates in a key playoff points game Friday.

Coal Grove enters the game 3-2 and sixth in Region 21 of Division VI while Wheelersburg is 4-1 and sixth in Region 17 of Division V.

The Hornets came from behind late last week to beat Waverly 22-19. Wheelersburg was dealt its first loss last week as Jackson tossed as 27-0 shutout.

Wheelersburg won last season’s meeting with Coal Grove 39-20. However, the Pirates led 24-6 at the end of the first quarter before the Hornets got within 24-20 in the third quarter.

The Pirates got a late score in each of the third and fourth quarters to pull away.

There are plenty of statistic leaders as both teams feature balanced attacks.

Wheelersburg is led by senior quarterback Austin May who is 45 of 64 for 689 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has rushed 33 times for 274 yards and four scores.

Micah McAlister has 216 yards on 32 carries for the Pirates while Jordan Howard has 173 yards on 21 attempts and Jacob Hutchinson 172 yards on 30 rushes.

Chasen Burk is the top receiver with 11 catches for 218 yards and five touchdowns. Howard has 14 catches for 211 yards and two TDs while Tyler Jenkins had seven grabs for 100 yards and three scores.

Coal Grove is led by senior running back Isaiah “Ice” Gunther with 525 yards on 77 carries and nine touchdowns. He also had four catches for 103 yards and a score.

Senior running back Austin Ruggles has carried the ball 61 times for 380 yards while senior fullback Tanner Murphy had 202 yards on 29 tries.

Senior quarterback Jesse Rigsby is 18 of 47 passing for 331 yards and he has rushed 23 times for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Rigsby has thrown to a plethora of receivers including seniors Joe Akers and Sean Paulus and sophomores Daniel “Rudy” Rutherford and Jacob Clark.