Pirates honored for academics

The Wheelersburg Pirates dominated opponents during the 2015 football season, making it to the Final Four before bowing out. This past weekend, the Pirates were honored again — this time for dominating in the classroom.

The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association recognizes the top six academic programs throughout the entire state. Wheelersburg placed sixth with a cumulative GPA of 3.91. The GPA includes the Top 22 player’s GPA performances in the first quarter of the grading period.

Not only did the Pirates meet those requirements, 11 players finished with a 4.0.

“We’ve got a very strict, stringent curriculum at Wheelersburg that really challenges our players, but they have a work ethic and an attitude to excel in everything they do,” Pirates head coach Rob Woodward said.

Wheelersburg was recognized at the coaches’ clinic with their picture in the program and a plaque.

“I’m more proud of that plaque than just about any accomplishment we have because knowing how hard we work on the field, our guys are working hard to excel in the classroom as well,” Woodward said. “Each of the last four years, we have gotten better with that team GPA.

“I think it’s something our kids recognize and they strive for.”

Four players, Jake Darnell, Jordan Howard, Eli Whitley and Brady Newsome were selected as members of the 2015 Academic All-Ohio Football Team. Only 109 student athletes from more than 35,000 players throughout Ohio were recognized for this award.

“Those are four seniors that have shown leadership, both on the field and in the classroom,” Woodward said.

To qualify, the players must be a senior who was selected first team all-conference, or first team all-district in combination with exemplary academic performance.

“They recognize their life outside of high-school football is going to be in something else,” Woodward said. “They are not going to have a career in football, so they set academics as an important part of their life, trying to get themselves as ready as they can be to go onto college to find a career path to pursue. We work very hard in our practices but those young men found the time to get things done in the classroom.”

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Photo Submitted The Wheelersburg Pirates received a plague for academic excellence at the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2016/02/web1_IMG_5059.jpgPhoto Submitted The Wheelersburg Pirates received a plague for academic excellence at the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.

By Chris Slone

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Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.