PDT Sports Contributor
IRONTON — From the opening drive of the game there was never a doubt as to what the outcome would be as Wheelersburg appeared to be in mid-season form in a 49-12 drubbing of Ironton. This was the Pirates’ first victory over the Fighting Tigers since 2008.
Led by quarterback Eddie Miller III, the Pirates received the kickoff to start the game and took control from the outset as they went on a 10-play, 74-yard drive that resulted in Miller rolling out to his right and finding Kyle Miller in the right front corner of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown pass.
The Pirates would then pounce on an Ironton fumble on only the second play of that drive for the Fighting Tigers, as Tristan Cox would put the ball on the ground and Andrew Conn recovered to give Wheelersburg excellent field position at the Ironton 17-yard-line.
It would only take two plays for Miller to throw his second touchdown pass of the night as he found Camron Parsley out in the flat. Parsley would then outrun a couple of Fighting Tiger defenders on his way to a 22-yard touchdown reception. Miller would then hook up with Kyle Miller again on the two-point conversion to give the Pirates a 14-0 lead.
Ironton looked to gain some momentum after Cox converted a fourth and short for the Fighting Tigers, but that momentum was negated after Jeremy Bodmer fumbled the ball at the Ironton 39-yard line, where Wheelersburg’s Mitchell Warner fell on the football to give Wheelersburg another golden opportunity to score.
Miller would only need two plays to find pay dirt yet again. After finding Tyler Claxon for a 36-yard reception, Miller would call his own number on a three-yard touchdown run to put the Pirates up by a score of 21-0 with 4:06 still to play in the first quarter.
Ironton was finally able to strike back as Jacob Long provided a spark for the Fighting Tigers on the ensuing kickoff with a 95-yard kickoff return that saw Long outrace all of the Pirate defenders down the left sideline. That cut the lead to 21-6 in the process.
However, the spark would be short lived. Miller needed two plays to find the end zone which padded the Pirates lead to 28-6.
Ironton’s bad fortunes continued as Wheelersburg would recover the ensuing onside kick to give the Pirates great field position yet again at the Fighting Tigers 42-yard-line. After Micah McAlister broke loose for a 25-yard run, Miller would roll to his right and find Claxon in the lower right corner of the end zone to cap off a five-play, 42-yard drive that only took a minute and eight seconds off of the clock.
After Ironton and Wheelersburg traded possessions at the beginning of the second quarter, Wheelersburg would go on a five-play, 63-yard drive that resulted in Miller scoring on a 11-yard touchdown run to put the Pirates up 42-6.
The game would roll along without incident until the end of the first half, when Ironton opted to throw the ball deep toward the end zone out of their own territory in an attempt to score and cut the lead to a more manageable deficit. That decision proved to be the wrong one as Cox threw the ball right into Austin May’s hands. May would proceed to take the ball down the left sideline and outrace everyone for a 61-yard interception return as time expired to end the half with Wheelersburg up 49-6.
With the big lead and the win well in hand for Wheelersburg, the Pirates and Fighting Tigers began to sub players in and out to give the younger members of the roster experience. Ironton’s Jake Issac would come in for Cox at the quarterback position and score on a two-yard touchdown run to cap off the scoring for the evening.
Miller wowed the fans with a virtuoso performance as he threw for a total four touchdowns and rushed for two more scores, giving him a combined total of six touchdowns on the evening, all coming in the first half.
Jacob Long would leave the game in the second quarter after being hit with an apparent lower leg injury in the middle of the second quarter and did not come back into the game. There is no word on his condition.
For next week, Ironton will host Russell while Wheelersburg will host Coal Grove. Both start times are next Friday at 7:30.