WHEELERSBURG — Connor Estep’s foot did all it could for the Wheelersburg Pirates on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the host Pirates, it wasn’t enough —especially late —against Cade Wolford’s legs or Jacob Winters’ arm.
As a result, the Jackson Ironmen erased a 9-0 third-quarter deficit with three touchdowns in less than six second-half minutes —and went on to capture a 20-12 non-league win over Wheelersburg on Friday night inside Ed Miller Stadium.
As Estep made four field goals, one in each quarter and connecting on distances of 24 yards and 40 yards once and 37 yards twice, the Pirates pushed out to leads of 9-0 midway through the third period —and 12-7 just 46 seconds into the fourth.
But the Ironmen, with Winters striking with two touchdown passes —spanning only two minutes and 51 seconds and covering 110 yards worth of field —forged ahead for the final 11 minutes, and thus made it three consecutive victories over the Pirates in this respected yet competitive series.
Both teams are now 3-2, as both of the Pirates’ losses have come at home —the other against undefeated Ironton in the season opener.
In that game, all the Pirates produced was an early Estep field goal —giving him 5-of-5 on attempts this season, along with 16-of-16 extra-point kicks.
The Pirates, preferably, planned to kick one-point PATs against the Ironmen —and not three-point FGs.
However, Jackson kept Wheelersburg only through the uprights —and out of the coveted end zone.
The Pirates rushed for 229 yards on 40 attempts, as five separate ballcarriers gained at least 40 yards.
Wheelersburg senior quarterback Eli Jones led the way, with 53 yards rushing and 74 yards passing, as he went 4-of-10 with Jackson’s Jacob Woods making one interception.
Speaking of Woods, his 30-yard touchdown reception with eight minutes and 12 seconds remaining — combined with Thatcher Brown’s second of two extra-point kicks — made it 20-12.
Only 2:51 earlier, the senior standout Winters connected with Wolford to put the Ironmen ahead —on an 80-yard connection which made it 13-12 with 11 minutes to play.
Winters’ two-point pass failed, but the Pirates never scored again.
Winters was 8-of-14 passing for 209 yards —with four Ironmen making at least one reception for 19.
He was intercepted once —by Wheelersburg linebacker Landon Hutchinson.
Winters chipped in 62 rushing yards on 10 tries, as Wolford was the Red and White’s leader —with 64 yards on 13 totes.
With two minutes to go in the third, Wolford got the Ironmen on the scoreboard —with a two-yard run and Brown bagging the extra point.
But Jackson’s defense was the key —as the Ironmen are coached by former Wheelersburg player Andy Hall, with his father and former Pirate head coach Larry Hall having long assisted him as defensive coordinator.
The Pirates return home, and begin defense of their Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship, on Friday night against Minford.
* * *
Jackson 0 0 7 13 — 20
Wheelersburg 3 3 3 3 —12
W — Connor Estep, 24-yard field goal, 1:41, 1st (3-0 W)
W — Connor Estep, 37-yard field goal, :32, 2nd (6-0 W)
W — Connor Estep, 40-yard field goal, 6:46, 3rd (9-0 W)
J — Cade Wolford, 2-yard run (Thatcher Brown kick), 1:58, 3rd (9-7 W)
W — Connor Estep, 37-yard field goal, 11:14, 4th (12-7 W)
J — Cade Wolford, 80-yard pass from Jacob Winters (pass failed), 11:03, 4th (13-12 J)
J — Jacob Woods, 30-yard pass from Jacob Winters (Thatcher Brown kick), 8:12, 4th (20-12 J)
First downs 14 14
Scrimmage plays 53 50
Rushes-yards 39-138 40-229
Passing yards 209 74
Total yards 347 303
Cmp-Att-Int. 8-14-1 4-10-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties (No.-Yds) 4-30 0-0
Punts-Ave. 2-35.5 1-28
RUSHING —Jackson: Cade Wolford 13-64 TD, Jacob Winters 10-62, Nolan Johnson 6-16, Eli Broermann 6-13, Team 4-(-17); Wheelersburg: Eli Jones 9-53, Creed Warren 9-48, Eric Lattimore 2-46, Derrick Lattimore 7-41, Ethan Glover 12-40, Jake Darling 1-1
PASSING — Jackson: Jacob Winters 8-14-1-209 2TD; Wheelersburg: Eli Jones 4-10-1-74
RECEIVING —Jackson: Cade Wolford 2-89 TD, Braydon Stapleton 3-64, Jacob Woods 2-37, Bo Landrum 1-19; Wheelersburg: Caleb Arthur 2-43, Creed Warren 1-19, Eric Lattimore 1-12
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