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Fast-starting Hornets rout Southeastern, 46-22

Coal Grove Hornets’ lineman Darin Bloomfield (50) leads the way for quarterback Nate Harmon (8) during Friday’s Division VI Region 23 semifinal game against Southeastern. The Hornets rolled to a 46-22 win at Lucasville Valley High School. (Kent Sanborn of SouthernOhioSportsPhotos.com)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

LUCASVILLE — The temperatures were below freezing, but the Coal Grove Hornets got warmed up in a hurry.
With their offense clicking from the opening series of the game, the Hornets built a 26-0 halftime lead and cruised past the previously unbeaten Southeastern Panthers 46-22 in the Division VI Region 23 semifinals on Friday.
“Our kids came out and did what we wanted them to do finally what we wanted all year. We came out and started fast. We’ve been a second half team basically all year. We usually start slow, but our kids came out fast and they didn’t let up,” said Hornets’ first-year head coach Evan Ferguson.
The Hornets finished with 482 total yards with 290 coming in the first half — 188 passing as Nate Harmon was 10-of-13 with an interception coming on the final play of the half in the end zone.
Aaron Music caught five passes for 94 yards. Harmon also ran 13 times for 70 yards and Kyle Sites added 32 yards on four tries.
Sites finished the game with 115 yards on 10 carries to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
“We mixed it up a little bit this week and our kids just executed it. We had a good week of practice and it showed tonight. I was really proud of them,” said Ferguson. “We have athletes and we utilize them.
“When we got beat by Portsmouth West back in week three, we knew to win games like this we had to run the football. We made an effort with our line to get out and block people and they did a good job of that. Then tonight we said, ‘let’s do a little of both.’ We worked on that spread stuff early on and now we combine it with some blocking. It was a great result at the end of the game.”
Southeastern (11-1) had 285 total yards — only 12 passing — and 111 of the Panthers’ 273 rushing yards came in the fourth quarter against the Hornets’ second team.
Carson Stauffer ran 16 times for 171 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers. Dakota Houser added 98 yards on 14 attempts and two scores.
Ferguson said the defense did exactly what he wanted.
“We try to be gap sound and I think our guys execute what we talk about all week. If they just do what we ask them to do, we’re set to defend ourselves,” said Ferguson.
Coal Grove (11-1) will now play unbeaten Nelsonville-York (12-0) in the regional championship game at 7:30 p.m. next Friday. The game site will be announced on Sunday, probably Jackson.
Nelsonville-York beat Fort Frye 26-20 in overtime
“I’m excited to play. We’ll get back in the film room and get to work,” said Ferguson.
Coal Grove took the opening kickoff and drove to the 20-yard line before the drive stalled on downs.
After forcing Southeastern to punt, the Hornets took just three plays to score as Harmon ran 37 yards to the 24 and then hit Music with a 24-yard touchdown pass with 2:11 left in the first quarter and it was 6-0.
The Panthers used a 43-yard run by Stauffer to help reach the Hornets’ 16, but the defense stiffened and took over on downs at the 19.
Harmon had an 11-yard run and Jeb Jones made a diving catch to gain 13 yards and a first down that kept the drive alive. Harmon then found Evan Holmes behind the secondary for a 57-yard touchdown pass.
Harmon ran for the conversion and it was 14-0 with 8:06 on the second quarter clock.
The Panthers shanked a punt that went just 12 yards and Coal Grove had the ball at the Southeastern 39.
Harmon ran twice for 25 yards and then Sites went the final 14 yards and it was 20-0 with 4:09 left on the scoreboard clock.
The Panthers fumbled the ball away on their next play and Coal Grove had the ball at the 15. Harmon hit Sam Angelo on fourth down with a 15-yard touchdown pass and it was 26-0 with 2:12 on the clock.
Southeastern showed a spark of life by taking the second half kickoff and going 59 yards in nine plays capped by Houser’s 1-yard scoring run. Lane Ruby ran for the conversion and it was 26-8.
But Coal Grove squashed any comeback hopes as Joey Workman ran 54 yards on the Hornets’ second play from scrimmage to the 7-yard line. A penalty put the ball at the 4-yard line where Kimo Baldwin scored to cap the quick 3-play drive and it was 32-8 at the 6:50 mark.
The Panthers hurt themselves by fumbling the ball two plays later and the Hornets recovered at the 42.
Coal Grove needed only six plays to score as Sites ran 24 yards for the touchdown and Holmes kicked the extra point to make it 39-8.
Southeastern punted on its next possession and Coal Grove took over at its own 26.
Sites had a 38-yard run and then the second team took over. Austin Stapleton went 6-yards for a touchdown and Holmes’ kick made it 46-8 with 8:16 left to play.
The Panthers got a 38-yard scoring run by Stauffer and Houser had a 45-yard TD run over the final 4:36 of the game.
Coal Grove    6    20    13    7    =    46
Southeastern    0    0    8    14    =    22
First Quarter
CG – Aaron Music 24 pass from Nate Harmon (kick failed) 2:11
Second Quarter
CG – Evan Holmes 57 pass from Nate Harmon (Harmon run) 8:06
CG – Kyle Sites 14 run (kick failed) 4:09
CG – Sam Angelo 15 pass from Nate Harmon (run failed) 2:12
Third Quarter
SE – Dakota Houser 1 run (Lane Ruby run) 8:01
CG – Kimo Baldwin 4 run (run failed) 6:50
CG – Kyle Sites 24 run (Evan Holmes kick) 3:31
Fourth Quarter
CG – Austin Stapleton 6 run (Evan Holmes kick) 8:16
SE – Carson Stauffer 38 run (Stauffer run) 4:36
SE – Dakota Houser 45 run (run failed) 0:20
——
CG    SE
First downs    20    12
Rushes-yards    35-294    39-273
Passing yards    188    12
Total yards    482    285
Cmp-Att-Int    10-13-1    1-4-0
Fumbles-lost    4-1    4-2
Penalties-yards    5-45    6-70
Punts-average    0-00.0    4-26.8
——
Individual Leaders
RUSHING —Coal Grove: Kyle Sites 10-115, Nate Harmon 13-70, Joey Workman 1-54, Aaron Music 1-10, Evan Holmes 1-9, Kimo Baldwin 1-4, Austin Stapleton 4-28, Trey Hunt 2-4; Southeastern: Carson Stauffer 16-171, Dakota Houser 14-98, Lane Ruby 8-1, Mikey Castle 1-3.
PASSING — Coal Grove: Nate Harmon 10-13-1 188; Southeastern: Lane Ruby 1-4-0 12.
RECEIVING — Coal Grove: Aaron Music 5-94, Evan Holmes 1-57, Sam Angelo 1-15, Jeb Jones 1-13, Kyle Sites 1-9; Southeastern: Trey Brown 1-12.