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Panthers use ground game to outlast Hornets

Chesapeake Panthers’ running back Kamren Harless (5) and Coal Grove Hornets’ defensive back Joe Abrams are all hands during last Friday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. The Panthers outscored the Hornets 45-38. (Kent Sanborn/Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

COAL GROVE — To say the Chesapeake Panthers like to run the ball is an understatement.
The Panthers ran the ball 63 times for a whopping 520 yards as they held off the Coal Grove Hornets 45-38 in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday.
“We’re somewhere around 2,000 yards rushing as a team on the season. We have some speed and we try to utilize it,” said Panthers’ coach Todd Knipp.
Kamren Harless led the grinding ground game with 26 carries for 249 yards and five touchdowns. Will Todd also had a big game with 183 yards on 17 attempts.
Quarterback Donald Richendollar ran nine times for 52 yards and was 2-of-6 passing for 37 more yards for the Panthers (3-2, 1-1).
Coal Grove (2-3, 1-1) racked up 299 total yards as Austin Stapleton ran 22 times for 135 yards and two TDs. Cory Borders was 9-of-14 passing for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Harless had a 39-yad touchdown run and then a 2-yard scoring burst as Chesapeake took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
The lead went to 17-0 with 8:01 left in the half on a 27-yard field goal by Randy Wilson who was 5-of-5 on extra points.
Stapleton’s 2-yard touchdown run and Borders conversion run got the Hornets within 17-8 with 3:56 left in the half.
But the Panthers scored again with 3:38 left on the clock as Harless ran 13 yards for a touchdown and it was 24-8.
Chesapeake seemingly put the game away when Richendollar scored on an 18-yard run at the 7-minute mark of the third quarter and it was 31-8.
But Trey Hunt returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards for a touchdown and Borders threw to Stormes on the conversion to cut the deficit to 31-16 with 2:02 left in the third quarter.
“We were able to get some stops on third down and get the ball in the hands of our playmakers,” said Knipp. “But once we got the big lead we relaxed, especially on defense.”
The Panthers collected themselves and put together a scoring drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by Harless and the lead was 38-16.
The Hornets continued their comeback as Stormes ran 8 yards for a touchdown and it was 38-22 with nine minutes left.
Harless broke free with a 42-yard touchdown run and Joe Abrams conversion catch cut the deficit to 45-30. Abrams caught 8 yards a touchdown with 5:05 to go and Borders ran for the conversion to make it 45-38.
Next Friday, Chesapeake hosts Ironton and Coal Grove visits Portsmouth.
Chesapeake 14 10 7 14 = 45
Coal Grove 0 8 8 22 = 38
First Quarter
Ch — Kamren Harless 39 run (Randy Wilson kick) 7:11
Ch — Kamren Harless 2 run (Randy Wilson kick) 4:43
Second Quarter
Ch — Randy Wilson 27 field goal 8:01
CG — Austin Stapleton 2 run (Cory Borders run) 3:56
Ch — Kamren Harless 13 run (Randy Wilson kick) 3:38
Third Quarter
Ch — Donald Richendollar 18 run (Randy Wilson kick) 7:00
CG — Trey Hunt 51 kickoff return (Austin Stormes pass from Cory Borders) 2:02
Fourth Quarter
Ch — Kamren Harless 4 run (Randy Wilson kick) 11:10
CG — Austin Stormes 8 run (run failed) 9:00
Ch — Kamren Harless 42 run (Lucas Shepherd kick) 8:48
CG — Austin Stapleton 12 run (Joe Abrams pass from Cory Borders) 7:53
CG — Jose Abrams 8 pass from Cory Borders (Borders run) 5:05
——
Ch CG
First downs 19 12
Rushes-yards 63-520 35-178
Passing yards 37 121
Total yards 557 299
Cmp-Att-Int 2-6-0 9-14-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 9-98 3-25
Punts-average 0-00.0 4-38.3
Individual Leaders
RUSHING — Chesapeake: Kamren Harless 26-249, Will Todd 17-183, Donald Richendollar 9-52, Logan Walsh 10-36, Carson Nida 1-0; Coal Grove: Austin Stapleton 22-135, Austin Stormes 5-18, Cory Borders 8-25.
PASSING — Chesapeake: Donald Richendollar 2-6-0 37; Coal Grove: Cory Borders 9-14-1 121.
RECEIVING — Chesapeake: Thomas Sentz 1-29, Kamren Harless 1-8; Coal Grove: Justin Hicks 1-34, Austin Stormes 4-41, Joe Abrams 2-46, Austin Stapleton 1-0.