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Coal Grove faces tough test at West

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

COAL GROVE — Haven’t we seen this before?
Coal Grove finished 11-2 last season and regional runners-up in Division VI. West was 10-2 and reached the Division V regional semifinals.
The Hornets only loss last season was 28-0 against West.
Both teams suffered a lot of graduation losses but are both unbeaten again to start the season.
Coal Grove (2-0) beat River Valley 47-0 and then rallied past Lucasville Valley 21-20 last week. The Hornets trailed 14-0 but came back to score with 5:23 to play and win.
“It’s great to see a group of guys come together. They didn’t want to quit and that’s a good sign,” said Hornets’ coach Evan Ferguson.
“It’s great to find out who your leaders are and who you can depend on. Evan Holmes and Aaron Music really stepped up for us.”
West began the season with a 49-12 rout of South Point and then blanked Portsmouth 13-0 last week.
The Senators held Portsmouth to just 76 total yards last week and running back Talyn Parker managed a mere 24 yards after getting 326 yards the previous week against Lucasville Valley.
West lost 14 seniors including many of the offensive and defensive linemen.
Quarterback Dylan Bradford (6-1, 155) threw for more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and ran for eight more.
The key in the backfield is returning senior Garrett Hurd (5-7, 155). He is joined by Cole Staggs (6-0, 167) and Josh Berry (5-10, 157).
Hurd ran for more than 1,300 yards and scored 11 touchdowns.
Isaiah Norman (5-11, 156) and Trevor Staggs (6-2, 150) are the top receivers.
The top returning lineman is Cole Gilley (6-1, 243). Gabe Skaggs (5-9, 210) shifts from fullback to guard with Blake Partlow (6-1, 240) the center. The other guard is Devon Cooper (5-8, 189) while Joe Igaz (6-3, 310) is Gilley’s running mate at tackle.
Tight ends Sid Shifflet (6-0, 192) and Caleb Journey (6-0, 190) both return.
Skaggs at linebacker anchors the defense.
“West is typical West. They played hard-nosed football. When they go to block, they’re on a mission. They’re hard-hitting team,” said Ferguson.
“He has a nose for the ball. We had a hard time blocking him. Hurd is a really strong, tough runner and their quarterback is a tough, hard-nosed football player, too.”
Kickoff is 7 p.m.