WHEELERSBURG — “The Burg” is still the word when talking about the Wheelersburg Pirates and Ironton Fighting Tigers rivalry in football, as the defending SOC II champion Pirates dominated the Fighting Tigers 49-6 in their season-opening game.
“This was just an outstanding job by our coaching staff and our kids in terms of the execution of the game plan out here on the field,” Wheelersburg football coach Rob Woodward said immediately after the Pirates opened their season with a 43-point victory over the Fighting Tigers. “That was one of the best executed game plans in the first half that I can remember as a coach, in terms of being here, as an assistant or as a head coach.”
While the Pirates executed their game plan to near perfection in the first half, Ironton helped Wheelersburg out far more than they ever wanted to. The Tigers struggled to get going in the game Friday night, getting called for four-straight penalties to start the contest.
Ironton’s struggles continued all throughout the first half, which saw the Tigers never cross the 50-yard line, being held in their own territory the entirety of the first two quarters.
“You put in all that time and you have so many unknowns, but you trust people and you ask them to step up in the moment and they did that tonight,” Woodward said.
Wheelersburg’s offense rolled all over the turf at Ed Miller Stadium in Wheelersburg. The Pirates had six possessions in the first half and found the endzone every drive.
The duo quarterback attack by Mack Dyer and Cole Lowery of Wheelersburg kept the Ironton defense guessing throughout the first half. The two juniors were involved in all seven Wheelersburg touchdowns.
Dyer threw for five touchdowns, connecting with Tanner Bivens twice, as well as Tanner Holden twice and one final passing score to Taylor Doerr.
Lowery also found Doerr on a scoring pass, which was good for 44 yards.
The only rushing touchdown for Wheelersburg came by way of a 13-yard scoring run by Dyer. It was the final score of the game for the Pirates.
After realizing his team defeated the defending OVC Champions to open the season, Woodward said he was speechless.
“That’s something you don’t really prepare for in a game like this (margin of victory),” Woodward said after collecting his thoughts. “We had some miscues there at the end. I’m not one to make excuses. I want to be as clean as we can and of course our guys were excited.
“Big plays tonight and great job by both sides of the ball.”
One of the mistakes made in the twilight of the game was a 71-yard run given up by the Pirates defense, by Ironton’s Ethan Duncan. Duncan’s run set up the only Ironton score, a 2-yard run by Tanner Wilson.
Both the Tigers and Pirates will play on the road during the second week of the season. Ironton will travel to Russell, Kentucky for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Wheelersburg will travel to Fairland to face the Dragons, which is set to start at 7 p.m. Both games will take place Friday, September 2, 2016.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext. 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.