Big plays key Dragons win over Hornets, 27-21

Published 11:16 pm Saturday, September 5, 2020

Fairland Dragons’ Xander Schmidt (8) catches a 35-yard touchdown pass just before halftime in a 27-21 win over the Coal Grove Hornets. (Photo Courtesy of Scott Slone)

Jim Walker

PROCTORIVLLE — The Fairland Dragons decided to go big.
The Dragons used four big plays to produce all their scoring as they held off the Coal Grove Hornets 27-21 in an Ohio Valley Conference game last Friday.
Fairland ran the ball just 15 times and threw 15 passes while the Hornets ran off 58 plays including 54 rushing attempts.
Coal Grove fumbled the ball away on the fifth play of the game and the Dragons recovered at their own 44.
Pass plays of 25 yards to Gavin Hunt and 18 to Tevin Taylor got the ball to the 7-yard line when Max Ward hit Zander Schmidt with a TD pass.
Emma Marshall’s conversion kick made it 7-0 at the 8:43 mark.
Coal Grove (1-1, 1-1) answered with a 75-yard, 15-play drive that put the ball second and goal at the 2-yard line.
But two straight no gains and then a loss of 2 yards on fourth down halted the drive.
It didn’t take Fairland long to score as Ward hit Hunt on a post route behind a safety on the very next play that resulted in a 97-yard touchdown pass. Marshall’s kick put the score at 14-0 with 9:35 on the second quarter clock.
The teams traded punts and then the Hornets lost a fumble at their own 30.
After Ward was sacked for a 5-yard loss, he threw an incompletion trying to hit Schmidt in the flats and then found Schmidt behind the secondary for a 35-yard scoring strike with 1:01 left in the half and a 21-0 lead.
Fairland had just 60 net yards rushing for the game but 55 came on a touchdown run by Schmidt to open the second half as the lead went to 27-0 at the 10:32 mark.
With the aid of a facemask penalty and a 22-yard run by Trey Hunt, Coal Grove got the ball to the Fairland 16.
Three plays later, Trey Hunt scored on a 6-yard run and Justin Newcomb’s kick made it 27-7 with 8:24 left in the third quarter.
Fairland (2-0, 2-0) was forced to punt and Coal Grove got the ball on its own 18.
But the Hornets went on a 16-play drive capped by a Clay Ferguson pass to Chase Hall with 12:47 to play and it was 27-14.
The Hornets blocked a punt on the Dragons’ next series and got the ball at the 18-yard line. With the help of another facemask penalty, Austin Stapleton scored on a 2-yard run with 7:22 left and suddenly the Hornets trailed just 27-21.
The Dragons moved the ball to midfield before having to punt and the Hornets had one last chance starting at their own 22.
But a penalty, a 7-yard loss on a screen pass and a 13-yard loss on a sack left the Hornets facing fourth-and-long and Ferguson threw an incompletion as he was chased out of the pocket.
Schmidt was the key weapon for the Dragons with his long touchdown run and two receptions for 42 yards and two touchdowns.
Ward finished 10-of-15 passing for 211 yards the three TDs while Gavin Hunt five catches for 142 yards and a TD.
Malachai Wheeler had a big game for Coal Grove with 134 yards on 28 carries. Trey Hunt finished with 52 yards on seven attempts.
Next Friday, Coal Grove goes to Ironton and Fairland visits Portsmouth.
Coal Grove 0 0 7 14 = 21
Fairland 7 14 6 0 = 27
First Quarter
Fa – Zander Schmidt 7 pass from Max Ward (Emma Marshall kick) 8:43
Second Quarter
Fa – Gavin Hunt 97 pass from Max Ward (Emma Marshall kick) 9:35
Fa – Zander Schmidt 35 pass from Max Ward (Emma Marshall kick) 1:01
Third Quarter
Fa – Zander Schmidt 55 run (kick failed) 10:32
CG – Trey Hunt 6 run (Justin Newcomb kick) 8:24
Fourth Quarter
CG – Chase Hall 25 pass from Clay Ferguson (Justin Newcomb kick) 12:47
CG – Austin Stapleton 2 run (Justin Newcomb kick) 7:22
First downs 18 8
Rushes-yards 54-234 15-60
Passing yards 18 211
Total yards 252 271
Cmp-Att-Int 2-4-0 10-15-0
Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 3-30 6-40
Punts-average 1-22.0 4-33.5
Individual Leaders
RUSHING —Coal Grove: Malachai Wheeler 25-134, Trey Hunt 7-52 TD, Austin Stapleton 12-33 TD, Chase Hall 4-25, Clay Ferguson 6-minus 10; Fairland: Zander Schmidt 1-55 TD, Gavin Hunt 1-5, J.D. Brumfield 7-22, Max Ward 3-minus 10, team 3-minus 12.
PASSING — Coal Grove: Clay Ferguson 2-4-0 18 TD; Fairland: Max Ward 10-15-0 211 3TD.
RECEIVING — Coal Grove: Chase Hall 1-25 TD, Malachai Wheeler 1-minus 7; Fairland: Gavin Hunt 5-142 TD, Zander Schmidt 2-42 2TD, Tevin Taylor 2-20, Steeler Leep 1-7.

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