THE PLAINS — The season has finally ended for the determined Wheelersburg Pirates after being defeated 30-20 by Coshocton in the regional finals at Athens that was filled with surprises and upsets.
‘Burg a bad first half with the Redskins coming out and running a five-yard touchdown.
In the second quarter, Coshocton went on to score a safety and a second touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Pirates entered the half still needing to get on the board.
While Coshocton played better than any opponent ‘Burg had faced the season, the Pirates made some major mistakes.
With just over seven minutes in the second, the Pirates threw a more than 40-yard pass that fell incomplete.
Such passes could have given ‘Burg some much-needed field position.
Down by 16-0, the Pirates came out of halftime playing like fans are used to seeing Pirates Play.
In the first minute of the third quarter, graduating senior Keaton Newsome showed how much he wanted the game with a huge Pirate run, followed by a significant run by Cole Lowery, and yet another big run by Newsome, landing the Pirates a yard from goal.
Newsome ran the ball in for a 71-yard touchdown drive in four plays.
With the ball back in the hands of the Redskins, Wheelersburg’s defense held the line strong until the offense could get the in possession for another big play.
With six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Tanner Bivens got his hands on some cold pigskin and scored a second Pirate touchdown for an 80-yard drive in seven plays and two minutes and 20 seconds off the clock.
The Redskins wanted that regional championship as well and were not going to watch the Pirates leave with it.
They responded with a touchdown by Zach Michael,who accomplished a 32-yard run for a 63-yard drive.
Still, Burg had something to prove.
Bivens ran the ball 64 yards for a 67-yard drive in two plays and 35 seconds off the clock.
In just the third quarter, the Pirates showed what they are made of.
They were able to recover from nothing on the board to only a three-point disadvantage.
Still, Coshocton is a great team with some major playmakers including Dallas Griffith and Kobie Means, who can play the entire field.
The Redskin offense was strong, and the Pirates would have to fight to bring a Redskin down.
Going into the fourth quarter, Coshocton was leading the game 23-20.
The Pirates fans cheered with excitement as their team had rejoined the game in only one quarter.
Unfortunately for ‘Burg, Michael came in the fourth and scored another Redskin touchdown with a two-point conversion, taking a 10-point lead.
The Pirates continued to fight, but passes continually fell incomplete and the Coshocton defense maintained good coverage, running out the clock and finishing this nailbiter of a game.
Following their first loss of the season, the Pirates were disappointed, but also had much pride to carry them home.
“It’s outstanding to get this far,” Wheelersburg Coach Rob Woodward stated.
Though he said that the Pirates did not play their best football, he continued by stating, “To have the half we did and come back to only lose by two touchdowns is something to be proud of. You just want to see it go the other way.”
Woodward was quick to recognize the team leadership.
“I can’t say enough about our seniors,” he stated. “Their effort is what got us this far.”
The Pirate coach concluding by explaining, “It takes playing your best ball every single week. Obviously, we didn’t do that this week. You win, you advance; you lose, you go home.”
Newsome had nothing but love for his teammates.
“It’s obviously a big loss,” he stated. “But I love every single one of those guys in that locker room. I’d go to battle for any of them.”
He went on to praise the incredible season had by the Pirates and explained that though he is graduating he excited to see what ‘Burg brings next season.
“We got a lot of playmarkers coming up next season. Next year is going to be a great year for the Wheelersburg football program. Some of those guys stepped up this year. The goal is always a state championship, and I really believe next year they can do that,” Newsome boasted of his team.
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