PDT Sports Editor
MCDERMOTT — Wheelersburg proved why its No. 1 in the Associated Press Division V poll after beating Northwest 56-0.
Miller completed eight passes on nine attempts for 213 yards for four touchdowns to lead the Pirates. Miller, like the rest of Wheelersburg’s starters, only played the first half. Tyler Claxon was the beneficiary of Miller’s hot night as he caught four passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns.
“Our offense is designed to make big plays like that, it’s a high risk offense,” Wheelersburg coach Rob Woodward said. “Eddie had good protection, we recognized some things we thought we could capitalize on, and Tyler Claxon was lights out in terms of catching the ball and taking it to the house.”
Northwest received the opening kickoff and promptly went three-and-out. Wheelersburg ran one play, which covered 34 yards, to take the early 7-0 lead. Eddie Miller connected with Tyler Claxon on the scoring play.
On their second possession, the Mohawks embarked on an eight-play, 37-yard drive. After reaching the Pirates’ 42-yard line and facing a third and 13, quarterback Drew Scarberry over-threw is intended receiver, which allowed Wheelersburg’s Kyle Davis to intercept the errant pass.
After the turnover, the Pirates increased their lead to 14-0 on another Eddie Miller to Claxon touchdown connection. Wheelersburg scored in four plays.
Just like its previous possession, Northwest went on a seven-play, 20-yard drive. Facing a third-and-one on their own 45-yard line, Gabe Burton ran a dive, which resulted in a fumble recovery by Michael Staggs who returned the ball 55 yards for the touchdown.
The Pirates got the ball back after forcing a Mohawks punt. Wheelersburg increased their lead to 28-0 after a six-play drive, which saw Miller complete three passes including a 28-yard strike to Austin May for the touchdown with 6:10 remaining before the break.
The Pirates weren’t done scoring before the intermission. After Wheelersburg forced Northwest to turn the ball over on downs, the Pirates struck quickly. On third-and-15 from the 20-yard line, Miller connected with Claxon who took the ball 80 yards to paydirt.
Northwest tried to slow the tempo down, chewing up the clock in the process but turnovers hurt the Mohawks chances for pulling the upset.
“We did a nice job of moving the ball,” Northwest coach Brooks Fry said. “I thought we did what we wanted to do on offense, just turnovers. We threw a pick then we fumbled the ball away and one time the guy took away from us and ran it back for a touchdown.”
Gabe Burton led the Northwest attack with 49 yards rushing on nine attempts while Ben Lajoye carried the ball 13 times for 48 yards.
In the second half, Cole Cunningham had a rushing touchdown, while Micah McAlister added two touchdowns for the Pirates.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Chris on Twitter @crslone.
Wheelersburg 21 14 7 14-56
Northwest 0 0 0 0-0
Burg—Claxon 20 pass from Miller (Lewis kick), 9:36
Burg—Claxon 35 pass from Miller (Lewis kick), 4:24
Burg—Stone 55 return (Lewis kick), 0:03
Burg—May 28 pass from Miller (Lewis), 6:10
Burg—Claxon 80 pass from Miller (Lewis), 28.6
Burg—Cunningham 5 run (Lewis kick), 9:07
Burg—McAlister 5 run (Lewis kick), 10:47
Burg—McAlister 11 run (D. Miller kick), 5:44
First Downs 11 13
Rush Att. Yds. 20-154, 51-211
Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 13-15, 2-4-1
Pass Yds. 272, 16
Fumbles-Lost 0-0, 5-3
Turnovers 0, 4
Penalties-Yds. 35 20
Rushing: Wheelersburg — Browing 2-36, Burk 2-33, Howard 4-31, May 2-14, Ellis 1-13, E. Miller 2-12, McAlister 3-12, Cunningham 1-5, Dodridge 1-3; Northwest —Burton 9-49, Lajoye 13-48, Campbell 4-46, Scarberry 4-19, Slack 7-19, Mankin 5-14, Brigner 4-8, Lacy 1-3, Silhavy 2-2
Passing: Wheelersburg —E. Miller 8-9 213, May 5-6 59; Northwest — Scarberry 2-4-1 16.
Receiving: Wheelersburg — Claxon 4-168, Cunningham 3-42, May 1-28, D. Miller 2-15; Northwest — Lajoye 2-16.
Records: Wheelersburg 6-0; Northwest 3-3.