PDT Sports Writer
WHEELERSBURG — It seems whenever the statement of the quarterback being the most important position in football is made, players such as Wheelersburg’s Eddie Miller have nights such like Friday night to prove why it’s true.
The junior quarterback was 10-of-11 passing for 194 yards with five passing touchdowns and carried the ball another 10 times for 45 yards as the host Pirates picked up their first victory at the newly-renovated Ed Miller Stadium with a 43-13 win over Scioto County rival Portsmouth.
“Our game plan tonight was to try to manipulate the defense like we do each and every week and then mix in pass where we see things down the field,” Wheelersburg coach Rob Woodward said. “We were able to get some great field position at times, take some chances and Eddie made great decisions back there.”
Miller was given favorable starting field position all night as the Pirates started on the Trojans side of the field six of the 11 times they had the ball and had and average starting spot at the Portsmouth side of the 50. It was one of the many things Trojans coach Curt Clifford was upset with in a game that he acknowledged his team regressed.
“We talked that if you’re going to play Wheelersburg and have success, you better play with great discipline,” Clifford said. “Our kids played with absolutely no discipline tonight. We laid an egg.”
Wheelersburg opened the scoring as a result of a blocked Jacob Albrecht punt that put the ball on the Portsmouth 35. Eddie Miller found Dylan Miller for a 10-yard pass to make it 7-0 Pirates.
It didn’t take long for Wheelersburg to double the scoring as Eddie Miller connected with Tyler Claxon on the first play of the Pirates ensuing drive for 30 yards and a 14-0 lead. The drive was set up by a punt return that was caught on the Wheelersburg 47.
The Trojans cut the lead in half late in the first thanks to some special teams plays of their own. Darion Robinson’s 63-yard kickoff return set up a drive that was capped off by a 2-yard score by Austin Ridout.
“That put us right back in the ballgame,” Clifford said.
After the score, the Pirates would run off the game’s next 29 points unanswered to blow it open. Included in those scoring drives were second touchdown receptions for Dylan Miller and Claxon, a scoring catch by Wade Martin, a touchdown run by Aaron Cowgill and a safety after the long snap to Albrecht went over his head and beyond the end zone.
“We’ve really been working each and every week to grow in special teams,” Woodward said. “Our guys have bought into it and I take special teams personally.”
Clifford was not happy with his team’s effort in special teams.
“We had four (long snaps) shot over our punter’s head,” Clifford said. “Never in 36 years have I seen that happen.”
Robinson finished the scoring with a 2-yard sprint to the pylon for the final tally of the game. Despite the short field throughout the game, Wheelersburg still finished with a 332-210 advantage in total yards.
Brandon Wedebrook was 10-of-17 passing for 51 yards and Alex Dickerson finished with four carries for 36 yards to lead Portsmouth. Cowgill was the game’s leading rusher with 74 yards on nine totes.
“We spoke to how sick we were to our stomachs two weeks ago on Friday night (after the 32-27 loss to Ironton),” Woodward said. “…We didn’t want to have that sick feeling again.”
The road gets tougher for both ball clubs next week as the Trojans travel to Minford and the Pirates venture to Fairland.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.
Portsmouth 7 0 0 6 — 13
Wheelersburg 14 6 16 7 — 43
W—D. Miller 10 pass from E. Miller (Thurmer kick) 5:57
W—Claxon 30 pass from E. Miller (Thurmer kick) 4:14
P—Ridout 2 run (Delotell kick) 2:46
W—D. Miller 66 pass from E. Miller (kick failed) 6:52
W—Cowgill 7 run (Thurmer kick) 9:50
W—Claxon 39 pass from E. Miller (Thurmer kick) 6:49
W—Martin 12 pass from E. Miller (Thurmer kick) 11:54
P—Robinson 2 run (kick blocked) 7:05
First Downs 18 16
RusingAtt-Yds. 41-159 31-132
Passing Att.-Comp.-Int 10-17-0 12-11-0
Passing Yards 51 200
Total Yards 210 332
RUSHING: Portsmouth—Dickerson 4-36, Charles 5-34, Robinson 9-27, Hollins 4-26, Delotell 4-21, Oliver 2-12, Ridout 3-6, Wedebrook 10-(-3); Wheelersburg—Cowgill 9-74, E. Miller 10-45, Gifford 9-23, Browning 2-(-10).
PASSING: Portsmouth—Wedebrook 17-10-0 51; Wheelersburg—E. Miller 11-10-0 194, May 1-1-0 6.
RECEIVING: Portsmouth—Charles 2-28, Robinson 3-9, Blackburn 1-8, Dickerson 2-6, Albrecht 1-1, Lattimore 1-(-1); Wheelersburg—D. Miller 3-79, Claxon 4-73, Pyles 2-30, Martin 1-12, Stone 1-6.
RECORDS: Portsmouth 1-2; Wheelersburg 2-1.