Plenty still at stake as Hornets, Panthers meet in OVC finale

Published 3:24 am Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jim Walker


This game doesn’t really mean much.

You’ve got to be kidding.

Regardless of what’s at stake, any time the Chesapeake Panthers and the Coal Grove Hornets meet there is always a lot at stake and this time is no different.

The Panthers are 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference. A win would give them a share of second place and lock up a postseason playoff berth.

Coal Grove is 5-4 and 4-1 in the league. A win would give the Hornets sole possession of second place as they play a possible spoiler role.

Also on the line is the Little Brown Jug trophy that goes to the winner. Coal Grove has won four in a row in the series.

“It’s going to be tough,” said Panthers’ coach Andy Clark.

One of the things that make winning tough for the Panthers is the Hornets’ versatility on offense.

Coal Grove usually runs from the Wing-I or T-formation, but they have added other spread-style formations including last week’s unveiling of the pistol formation with Matty Cordle at quarterback and converted quarterback Daniel Rutherford at running back.

“They ran a lot of pistol last week, but I expect them to use whatever is working. They’re not gong to go away from what they do well,” said Clark.

“They have two guys who can throw it. Rutherford has a cannon and Cordle throws the ball well, too. Rutherford gives them more of a running threat. They do enough to keep you on your toes.”

On the other side of the ball the Hornets have a defense that features senior linebacker Tanner Dolen (6-2, 195), junior defensive back Jacob Clark (5-6, 150) and sophomore tackle Josh Waulk (5-11, 370).

“Dolen is a pretty good linebacker and I like the Clark kid on offense and defense,” said Clark. “Their defensive line is young, but they all play pretty well in there.”

Coal Grove is the final game in a season-ending run that included games with arch-rival Fairland, Portsmouth and Ironton.

“We’re trying to finish off the gauntlet. To win three of the last four would be good. If we finish 8-2 we’ll get in (the playoffs) for sure,” said Clark.

In other Ohio Valley Conference games, Ironton attempts to wrap up the league title outright as the Fighting Tigers visit South Point. Rock Hill travels to Fairland looking for their sixth win and to lock up a playoff berth. Portsmouth plays at Waverly in a non-league affair.

In the Southern Ohio Conference, Symmes Valley travels to Northwest needing a win to secure a second place finish and a berth in the postseason playoffs.

In other SOC games, Green is at Oak Hill, Portsmouth West is at Wheelersburg, Lucasville Valley travels to Minford, Portsmouth Notre Dame visits Sciotoville East and Beaver Eastern goes to Fayetteville.