Senators get 21-12 win over Hornets
For The Ironton Tribune
COAL GROVE — For the second consecutive week, a visiting Southern Ohio Conference Division II opponent took the sting out of the Coal Grove Hornets.
That’s because, on Friday night at LeMaster Stadium, the Portsmouth West Senators scored the final 14 points – and pitched a second-half shutout – en route to defeating the Hornets 21-12 in a non-league tilt.
A week ago, against the visiting Valley Indians, Coal Grove suffered a 34-19 loss, as Friday night’s affair with West marked the Hornets’ third straight home game.
The Hornets erased an early 7-0 Portsmouth West lead by scoring a dozen straight over a span of almost 11 minutes, but the Senators answered the Hornets’ second touchdown with a nine-play, 60-yard, four-minute drive to take the lead at 15-12.
The Senators shut out the Hornets for the game’s final 31 minutes and 46 seconds, and went up 21-12 following the opening series of the second half – a six-play, 61-yard drive that spanned 2:09.
The loss left Coal Grove at 1-2, while West raised its record to 2-1.
Despite the loss, Coal Grove coach Jay Lucas liked the fight and the will his Hornets displayed.
He said it was simply a matter of the Senators making more plays.
“Our kids played hard and just battled like crazy, but we just missed some plays that we needed to make tonight,” said Lucas.
“We’re young and inexperienced and we’re playing good teams. We have to clean up some mistakes. West was opportunistic on a few plays there where they converted third-and-longs, things like that.
“We just have to step up and make a play here and there.”
The Senator pass defense did its job, forcing Coal Grove quarterback Cory Borders into three interceptions and only 24 yards on 3-of-8 passing.
The Hornets had just 48 second-half yards – with Coal Grove’s final five possessions resulting in the three interceptions, a turnover on downs after a 10-play drive and a punt following a three-and-out series.
Of their 192 rushing yards, 67 of those came courtesy of Austin Stapleton on the Hornets’ first touchdown – which answered the Senators’ initial score in a matter of only 49 seconds and two plays.
The extra-point attempt failed, but Coal Grove seized the lead following a nine-play, 84-yard, four-minute and four-second march, which Austin Stormes scored on a 3-yard toss sweep to the right.
Stormes broke free for a 40-yard dash to the Senator 18-yard-line, as Stapleton then ran for 12 yards on a fullback trap to the 1.
However, the Hornets’ only other play in double-digit yardage was a Borders pass completion for 11 yards to Justin Hicks.
Stapleton amassed 96 yards on 16 carries, while Storms amounted 94 yards on 15 totes.
William Journey, who paced the Senators and all rushers with 112 yards on 23 carries, crossed from three yards out to get Portsmouth West on the board at the 6:57 mark of the opening quarter.
West went exclusively to the ground on an eight-play, 60-yard drive, as Caleb Hazelbaker kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.
Stapleton scampered his 67 yards right up the middle just 49 seconds later, then Stormes scored to make it 12-7 with the failed PAT pass attempt at the 7:46 mark of the second stanza.
The Senators took the lead for good on the next possession, as Journey converted a 3rd-and-3 with a 4-yard pickup, before quarterback Luke Bradford scrambled for 19 yards to push Portsmouth West to the Coal Grove 25.
On 4th-and-12 at the 27, Bradford rolled left and threw across his body to Hunter Brown, who made the TD reception to make it 13-12.
Bradford then made a spectacular play on the successful two-point conversion attempt, as he rolled right and threw back left to an open in the end zone Journey.
From there, it was all West, as Brandon Anderson intercepted Borders to stop the Hornets’ final series of the half.
The Senators made it 21-12 just two minutes and 16 seconds into the third quarter – as Journey’s gains of 23, 12 and four yards moved Portsmouth West to the Hornet 18.
Brown then took a well-executed inside counter trap to paydirt, scoring from 18 yards away.
The Senators then punted on their next three possessions, including two three-and-outs, but their defense didn’t allow the Hornets to have much of anything.
West rushed for 215 yards on 49 carries out of primarily the I-formation, as Bradford completed 9-of-12 passes for 94 yards, including three to Brown for 35.
The Senators doubled up the Hornets in first downs, 20-10.
Coal Grove travels to South Point next week for the Ohio Valley Conference opener.
Ports. West 7 8 6 0 = 21
Coal Grove 6 6 0 0 = 12
PW — William Journey, 3 run (Caleb Hazelbaker kick), 6:57
CG — Austin Stapleton, 67 run (run failed), 6:08
CG — Austin Stormes, 3 run (pass failed), 7:46
PW — Hunter Brown, 27 pass from Luke Bradford (William Journey pass from Luke Bradford), 3:38
PW — Hunter Brown, 18 run (kick failed), 9:44
First downs 20 10
Rushes-yards 49-215 36-192
Passing yards 94 24
Total yards 309 216
Cmp-Att-Int 9-12-0 3-8-3
Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-32 3-33
Punts-average 4-23.75 3-32.7
RUSHING — Ports. West: William Journey 23-112 TD, Mitchell Malnar 8-51, Hunter Brown 8-39 TD, Luke Bradford 9-18, Team 1-(-5); Coal Grove: Austin Stormes 16-96 TD, Austin Stapleton 15-94 TD, Joe Abrams 2-4, Cory Borders 3-(-2).
PASSING — Ports. West: Luke Bradford 9-12-0-94 TD; Coal Grove: Cory Borders 3-8-3-24.
RECEIVING — Ports. West: Hunter Brown 3-35 TD, Caleb Journey 2-37, Mitchell Malnar 2-21, Brandon Anderson 1-6, William Journey 1-(-5); Coal Grove: Justin Hicks 1-11, Austin Stormes 1-9, Joe Abrams 1-4.