SOC II goes back to ‘Burg



There goes than man!

Truth be likely told, that’s probably what Wheelersburg’s wide-ranging fan base —from youngsters to older adults on Friday night —were saying when senior Creed Warren was toting the rock.

And, dashing with the football all the way to the end zone, as Warren was leading Wheelersburg’s runaway — all the way back atop the Southern Ohio Conference Division II mountain.

Warren bookended Burg’s scoring with two explosive touchdowns, scored four times, and amounted 253 yards of total offense, as the Pirates rolled the West Senators 35-7 in recapturing the SOC II championship —inside an overflow and electric Ed Miller Stadium in Wheelersburg.

Meanwhile, while Warren was often off to the races for some Senior Night special memories, the Pirates poured it on —and pinned the Senators down —defensively too.

The physical-playing Pirates forced four West punts, dominated the field position, collected a couple of turnovers, and swarmed senior quarterback Cole Tipton to only three completions on 10 attempts for 12 yards.

Tipton took some hard shots from the Pirates as well —including a leveling, bonecrushing and jawdropping tackle late in the first quarter by Jake Darling at midfield.

It almost, in fact, took Tipton’s helmet off.

There was also the special teams tip of the cap to Cooper Heimbach, who once again filled in admirably for the injured all-Ohioan Connor Estep —and went a perfect 5-of-5 on extra-point kicks.

The Pirates, since a 32-16 loss against non-league Harvest Prep a month ago, have benefited from a brutal and ambitious non-conference schedule — setting themselves up to play quality football for the SOC II.

Wheelersburg ended its regular season at 6-3 (5-0 SOC II) —and swept through Waverly (40-7), Minford (51-0) and now West (35-7) with its final three wins, as the Pirates’ game at Oak Hill was canceled by the Oaks.

The SOC II title, back aboard the Pirate Country proverbial ship, is their 36th all-time.

“I’m just super proud of our kids with all the battles they’ve had throughout this season, especially early on. But as we’ve talked about, iron sharpens iron. It’s us trying to make ourselves be the best we can be at this stage, and I think we are,” said 16-year Wheelersburg head coach Rob Woodward. “I think we’re playing really good football right now, some our best football right now. We really turned the corner against Harvest Prep, and I know we’ve gotten better each and every week.”

Indeed, as iron sharpens iron, the Pirates are now worth their weight —in a Gold Ball for the SOC II, as well as the trophy for the West-Burg Halloween Bowl.

The dozen-senior strong Pirates played the revenge card as well, given West wrested away that championship last year —its first in a decade-and-a-half (2008).

West’s win (14-7) last season was its first over Wheelersburg since 2011, and first at “The Rock” since that 2008 championship campaign.

In addition, the Senators became the first Scioto County squad to topple the Pirates since 2013 —when Valley did so and won the third of its three consecutive conference championships.

Other Pirate winning streaks to bid bye-bye were their 13 wins in a row over West —and 11 straight in the SOC II.

On Friday night, with Wheelersburg turning the tables and winning the Gold Ball back, the Senators saw their league win streak snapped at 10.

Both coaches concurred about it being Burg’s night, not West’s unlike last year.

“Creed Warren, what speed he has. He made a statement tonight. But all the guys that were part of making those plays. Our offensive line battled all night, and we have six seniors on that front defensive line and our linebackers. That’s a core defensive unit that’s very aggressive, very physical that makes big plays and plays at a high level,” said Woodward. “West is a good football team that kept battling and didn’t make it easy for us, but our guys battled and went out and earned this win and this SOC championship.”

“To be honest with you, we just didn’t play very well. We would look really good at times, be physical and tackle and do the right things, and other times they took advantage of us. Hats off to Wheelersburg for playing really well and being very physical tonight,” said West third-year head coach Todd Gilliland. “We made too many mistakes, and Wheelersburg was able to take advantage of them. Field position was a huge part of the game, we were on the wrong end of a 14-point swing right before the half, we had several drives that we got going and didn’t finish them, and they got us in the fourth quarter out of being able to do what we wanted to do offensively.”

The Pirates outgained the Senators by exactly 200 (363-163) yards —aided on Warren’s 73-yard scoring scamper on the game’s first play, and his 65-yard pitch-and-catch connection with quarterback Braylon Rucker, on a screen pass that spanned 65.

That made it 35-7 with 10 minutes and six seconds remaining —and occurred only a minute and seven seconds after the Pirates’ fourth touchdown, which was Warren running in from seven yards out, and only seven seconds into the final stanza.

With Wheelersburg leading 21-7 at halftime, the Senators’ second-half drives over the opening 26 minutes resulted in a 10-play turnover on downs at the Pirates’ 34-yard line, an exchange of three-and-out possessions, and finally a lost fumble following three plays —sandwiched in between the Pirates’ final two TDs.

At that point, West was forced to throw the football —as Tipton’s three completions came in the final nine-and-half minutes.

Warren wrapped up with 158 rushing yards and a hat trick of touchdowns on only 13 carries, and caught three passes for 95 yards —as the sophomore Rucker completed seven of eight for 129.

Mason Parker’s 22-yard touchdown run prevented the Pirate shutout, as it came with six-and-a-half minutes left in the second quarter.

Parker rushed 19 times for 117 yards, as Tipton and Jeffery Bishop both carried 11 times —with Bishop going for 40 and Tipton minus 14, thanks largely to Wheelersburg sacks.

The win also propelled the Pirates into a Division V Region 19 opening-round home playoff game, as seventh-seeded Wheelersburg will host 10th-seeded Columbus Africentric on Friday night.

The loss, which sent the Senators to 8-2 (5-1 SOC II) — with their only other defeat coming against Fairland 32-29 in the season opener on the game’s final play — left West with the eighth seed in Division V Region 19.

West will host ninth-seeded Heath, which made the trip to Wheelersburg last year for the opening-round game — and got blanked and blitzkrieged by the Pirates 59-0.

But for this past Friday, the only thing on Woodward’s mind was his 12 seniors securing an SOC II crown —and playing at least one more game in Ed Miller Stadium.

“It was very important for our seniors to win this game, not only for the SOC championship but a chance to have another home playoff game,” said the coach. “Twelve seniors, winning on Senior Night, winning the league, now taking on another week with the season. They’ve now etched their name in history here at Wheelersburg, upholding an SOC championship. And they earned it. The SOC isn’t something that is just gifted to anyone. We saw that all tonight.”

A complete report will appear online at

* * *

West 0 7 0 0 — 7

Burg 14 7 0 14— 35

B — Creed Warren, 73-yard run (Cooper Heimbach kick), 11:38, 1st (7-0 B)

B —Creed Warren, 2-yard run (Cooper Heimbach kick), :24, 1st (14-0 B)

W — Mason Parker, 22-yard run (Jack Holbrook kick), 6:27, 2nd (14-7 B)

B — Landon Hutchinson, 1-yard run (Cooper Heimbach kick), :10, 2nd (21-7 B)

B — Creed Warren, 7-yard run (Cooper Heimbach kick), 11:53, 4th (28-7 B)

B — Creed Warren, 65-yard pass from Braylon Rucker (Cooper Heimbach kick), 10:06, 4th (35-7 B)

Team Statistics


First downs 11 14

Scrimmage plays 55 44

Rushes-yards 45-151 36-234

Passing yards 12 129

Total yards 163 363

Cmp-Att-Int. 3-10-1 7-8-0

Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-0

Penalties-yards 3-11 6-60

Punts-Ave. 4-23.25 2-40


Individual Leaders

RUSHINGWest: Mason Parker 19-117 TD, Jeffery Bishop 11-40, Anthony Bishop 3-11, Cole Tipton 11-(-14), Team 1-(-3); Wheelersburg: Creed Warren 13-158 3TD, Jake Darling 9-42, Braylon Rucker 5-20, Landon Hutchinson 4-3 TD, Riley Cunningham 3-13, Brayden Maxie 1-3, Team 1-(-5)

PASSING West: Cole Tipton 3-10-1-12; Wheelersburg: Braylon Rucker 7-8-0-129 TD

RECEIVINGWest: Anthony Bishop 2-10, Jeffery Bishop 1-2; Wheelersburg: Creed Warren 3-95 TD, Devon Lattimore 2-24, Xander Mowery 1-8, Kenyon Evans 1-2

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on X @paulboggssports © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

No posts to display