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Ground game leads Hornets past Redmen


Coal Grove Hornets’ Malachai Wheeler (2) follows his blocker as he gains yardage as Rock Hill’s SKyler Kidd reaches to make the tackle. The Hornets beat the Redmen 20-6. (Photo By Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

COAL GROVE — Power it up.
The Coal Grove Hornets turned to their traditional power running game led by Austin Stapleton as they opened the season with a 20-6 Ohio Valley Conference win over the Rock Hill Redmen.
Stapleton ran 15 times for 104 yards and a touchdown to lead the Hornets who ran 39 times for 221 yards.
Malachai Wheeler added 78 yards on 15 tries and had two scores. Quarterback Clay Ferguson was 6-of-9 passing for 59 yards as Coal Grove picked up 280 total yards.
Wheeler also had five catches for 44 yards.
Rock Hill ran 41 times for 169 yards led by Owen Hankins with 96 yards on 15 carries.
Brayden Friend added 30 yards on 11 tries and Noah Wood 23 yards on six rushes.
The Redmen had just 4 yards passing.
Coal Grove scored first after an exchange of punts. The Hornets went 55 yards in six plays capped by Wheeler’s 9-yard TD run. The score was set up by Stapleton’s 30-yard run to the 9.
Justin Newcomb kicked the conversion at the 2:20 mark.
Rock Hill answered with a 67-yard, 10-play drive keyed by Hankins’ 32-yard run.
Harper plowed into the end zone from a yard out with 10:29 left in the half.
The conversion kick was blocked.
The Hornets got the ball back after a punt at the Rock Hill 48.
It took 10 plays — seven through the air — before Stapleton scored on an 11-yard run with four seconds left and it was 14-6 at the half.
Rock Hill had a drive stall at the Coal Grove 24 and then the Hornets went on an 8-play scoring drive as Wheeler got his second 9-yard scoring run with 2:20 left in the third quarter. The conversion run failed.
Rock Hill drove to the Coal Grove 22-yard line to start the fourth quarter and later reached the Hornets’ 19 only to have both drives stall.
Next Friday, Rock Hill hosts Chesapeake while Coal Grove visits Fairland in league games.
Rock Hill 0 6 0 0 = 6
Coal Grove 7 7 6 0 = 20
First Quarter
CG — Malachai Wheeler 9 run (Justin Newcomb kick) 2:20
Second Quarter
RH — Hayden Harper 1 run (kick blocked) 10:29
CG — Austin Stapleton 11 run (Justin Newcomb kick) 0:04
Third Quarter
CG — Malachai Wheeler 9 run (run failed) 2:20
——
RH CG
First downs 11 16
Rushes-yards 41-169 39-221
Passing yards 4 59
Total yards 173 280
Cmp-Att-Int 1-5-0 6-9-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-3
Penalties-yards 3-15 5-50
Punts-average 1-47.0 2-36.0
——
Individual Leaders
RUSHING — Rock Hill: Owen Hankins 15-96, Hayden Harper 6-31, Brayden Friend 11-30, Noah Wood 6-23, Kordell French 1-2, Hunter Massie 2-minus 13; Coal Grove: Austin Stapleton 15-104, Malachai Wheeler 15-78, Clay Ferguson 6-17, Dylan Collins 1-7, Trey Hunt 2-15.
PASSING — Rock Hill: Hunter Massie 1-5-0 4; Coal Grove: Clay Ferguson 6-9-0 59.
RECEIVING — Rock Hill: Owen Hankins 1-4; Coal Grove: Malachai Wheeler 5-44, Jarren Hicks 1-15.