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Wheelersburg clobbers Ironton, 49-12

Aug. 31, 2013 @ 01:31 AM

IRONTON — ­Wheelersburg senior quarterback Eddie Miller made his last encounter against Ironton a memorable one.

Miller executed the no-huddle spread offense to near perfection in the first half when the Pirates scored seven times. He threw four touchdown passes and ran for two scores to power the Pirates to a 49-12 win over the Fighting Tigers in the season opener for both schools Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

“Coming in we believed it was our game to take. We did right out of the gate,” Miller said.

Miller moved Wheelersburg 75 yards in 10 plays for a score on its opening possession of the 2013 season.

After that, the Pirates took advantage of Ironton errors to turn the game into a runaway and end a four-game losing streak to their U.S. 52 rivals.

Ironton had two straight fumbles and the Pirates converted the turnovers into scores. After sophomore Jake

Long returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score to get the Fighting Tigers on the board, Miller hooked up with Dylan Miller on a 75-yard TD strike on the visitor’s first play to make Ironton fans forget about a comeback. Later, Wheelersburg took advantage of a pooch kick on a kickoff to set up another short drive and Austin May put a big exclamation point on the night when he returned an interception 65 yards for a TD on the final play of the first half.

“It was the perfect storm. We didn’t do anything right,” said Mark Vass, who’s in year two as Ironton’s head coach. “They were ready, we weren’t. We’ve got to stick together. It’s one game and hopefully it’s our worst.”

Ironton is home next Friday against Russell. Wheelersburg has its home opener next Friday against Coal Grove.

Wheelersburg coach Rob Woodward said Friday’s game is one his seniors wanted in the worst way. Ironton whipped the Pirates on this field two years ago and pulled out a close win last year in the first game for Vass as replacement for legendary coach Bob Lutz.

“This is my 11th year. I’m standing in Tanks Stadium and this is one of my favorites,” Woodward said. “This senior group deserved it. They got beat as sophomores. They came close last year. They set the tone tonight. It was an all-out total team effort.”

Ironton does have a young team as only three seniors start. Vass said the effort was there, but the team came up short in execution. Especially when it came to containing Eddie Miller, the Southeast District Player of the Year in 2012 in Division V.

“The kids didn’t quit. It was just execution,” Vass said. “They’re tough to stop. Eddie Miller reads the defense well, they attack and they’re a handful up front. We’ve got to hang in there and learn from this one.”
Ironton now leads the all-time series, 17-6.

“It’s been a big disappointment the last two years,” Pirates receiver Dylan Miller said. “We’ve worked hard and improved at a steady pace. The first half was amazing. What a ride home on the bus this will be.”