Coal Grove downs Fairland
PROCTORVILLE — Coal Grove took some risks that could have swung against them, but were able to maintain control of the game in a 28-8 defeat of Fairland.
Coal Grove faced a 4th-and-3 at its own 20 with just over a minute to go in the first half, leading 16-0. After a timeout, the Hornets disdained the punt and Brandon Hogsten came up a yard short of the first down on a run over left tackle.
Fairland took advantage of the break on the next snap as Chance Short hooked up with Nathan Campbell on a 23-yard touchdown pass, then found Luke Phillips on a 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 16-8 despite the fact Coal Grove ran 43 plays in the half to 11 for the home team.
Not to worry. Coal Grove marched 72 yards in 13 plays on its first possession in the third period to regain momentum. Hogsten capped the drive with a 10-yard TD run. Kyle Estep’s 1-yard TD run with 2:03 to play secured a 28-8 victory in the key Ohio Valley Conference contest at Fairland’s Jim Mayo Stadium.
“I believed we could get it and the defense was playing well,” Hornets coach Dave Lucas said of his gamble before halftime. “They made a nice play. Sometimes a coach makes a mistake. The kids covered me well.
“That third quarter drive was huge, the turning point in the game. We regained control and finished strong.”
Defending OVC champion Coal Grove (4-3) improved to 3-0 in the league. Chesapeake (4-4) also is 3-0 after a win at South Point. The two teams meet next Friday at Coal Grove (the Hornets are home because Chesapeake’s stadium is undergoing renovation).
Fairland (3-5) is 1-2 in the league.
“I think No. 34 (Coal Grove’s Kyle Estep) carried the ball 29 times and we ran 20-plus plays total. You’re not going to win many football games that way,” Fairland coach Dave Carroll said.
Estep led the Coal Grove ground game with 134 yards on 29 carries. Hogsten added 75 on 14 carries and the Hornets piled up 329 on 70 attempts.
“We’ve got kids down there who can block,” Lucas said of his offensive line. “Even when they stack the box. It’s very important to have those backs. When kids get tired, someone else comes in. They get mad they have to come out.”
Carroll knew what the Hornets would do and their size would make a difference.
“They’re physically superior,” Carroll said. “They proved it by those long drives. They’re hard to stop.”
Carroll said Coal Grove’s converting on third down on a regular basis made a difference, too.
“We had to get stops. We couldn’t get them off the field,” Carroll said. “Give them credit. They made the plays.”
Each team had one TD called back by a penalty. The one for Fairland came in the third period right after Hogsten’s TD. Tyree Ceasar sprinted 40 yards off an option pitch, but holding negated the score. On the next play, Short got sacked, fumbled and the Hornets recovered.
“With seven minutes left, I still felt like we had a chance,” Carroll said. “We can score quickly.”
Friday’s game was senior night for the Dragons. Honored prior to the game were Cody Midkiff, Malcolm Yance and Ceasar. Fairland returns to action next Friday at Rock Hill.
COAL GROVE 8 8 6 6 — 28
FAIRLAND 0 8 0 0 — 8
CG — Murphy 1 run (Gunther run), 1:33.
CG — Murphy 5 run (Murphy pass from Bare),. 4:35.
F — Campbell 23 pass from Short (Phillips pass from Short), 1:06.
CG — Hogsten 10 run (run failed), 4:50.
CG — Estep 1 run (run failed), 2:03.
First downs 24 6
Total Net Yards 389 155
Rushes-yards 70-329 15-82
Passing 41 73
Comp-Att-Int 3-7-0 8-19-2
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-60 3-20
RUSHING — Coal Grove, Bare 11-52, Gunther 11-45, Estep 29-134, Hogsten 14-75, Murphy 5-23. Fairland, Short 4-9, Sowards 2-9, Ceasar 6-60, Campbell 3-4.
PASSING — Coal Grove, Bare 3-7-0, 41. Fairland, Short, 8-19-2, 73.
RECEIVING — Coal Grove, Paulus 3-41. Fairland, Midkiff 2-24, Sowards 1-11, Ceasar 3-8, Campbell 2-30.