Ohio State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) honored the Wheelersburg Pirates’ football program for its state championship run back in the fall. Head coach Rob Woodward, along with Wheelersburg’s five senior captains (Xander Carmichael, Alex George, CJ Hall, Bryson Keeney, and Nic Parsley) visited the state capitol as they represented the Pirates during the acceptance of the resolution.
Woodward, who finished his 10th season with the Pirates, has already won 105 games as Wheelersburg’s head man. The Gallia Academy graduate has led Wheelersburg to four consecutive SOC II Championships — all while not losing a single game in conference play during that stretch. The Pirates’ last regular-season loss came against Jackson on Sept. 26, 2014, while its last SOC II loss came against Valley on Oct. 25, 2013. Wheelersburg hasn’t lost a true road matchup since 2012 under Woodward’s direction.
Carmichael, who was dominant throughout not only the regular season but the playoff run, led Wheelersburg with 104 total tackles and three interceptions in 2017 from his linebacker position. The senior also completed each of his five passes for 95 yards and two scores — including the championship-winning pass to Tanner Holden on fourth down that decided the thrilling overtime state title affair against Pemberville Eastwood (21-14) and also made a critical impact in the rushing and receiving efforts, obtaining 345 yards and eight touchdowns combined through those means. In addition to all of those aforementioned stats, the 6-2 senior obtained a 34.7 punt average and two touchdowns — along with a long punt of 54 — as the team’s punter.
George, who was also effective on both sides of the football, made 63 tackles and recovered three fumbles in 2017 while also proving himself as one of the best offensive linemen around for the undefeated Pirates at a starting guard spot. Hall, who held down the fort at tackle, also played well defensively, racking up 55 tackles while anchoring the offensive line from the blindside. Keeney, who made 46 tackles and picked off two passes as the team’s top cover corner, also accumulated three pass deflections. The 5-10 senior also obtained 259 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 18 receptions as a slot receiver. The final captain of the group, Parsley finished just behind Carmichael with 101 stops and a team-high six sacks on the year.