WHEELERSBURG — The Pirates wasted little time pouncing on the Ironmen after recovering an onside kick to open the game, followed by a Pirate fumble that led to Tanner Holden racing down the left sideline after picking up the loose ball to score the game’s first touchdown 14 seconds in the contest.
The rest of the touchdowns didn’t occur on rare plays but when the dust settled, Wheelersburg left Ed Miller Stadium with a 38-13 victory over Jackson.
While the onside kick was planned, the fumble recovery for the opening touchdown was not. However, Pirates coach Rob Woodward noted that he stresses the importance of execution along with taking advantage certain situations.
“It’s something we talk about every single day, execute, execute, execute,” Woodward said. “We’ve just got to be prepared for opportunities. When the opportunity presented itself, guys took a hold of it.”
Wheelersburg (5-0) was led by Mack Dyer who rushed for 116 yards and one touchdown, while also completing 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 166 yards and another score.
“What a great performance by Mack Dyer tonight,” Woodward said. “I was really pleased with the way he played.
“We won the trenches because of the scheme of our offensive coaching staff and putting guys in position to make plays. And Mack was at the helm, doing an outstanding job making decisions tonight. There’s run/pass options at times on plays, there’s read plays and he just did an exceptional job tonight.”
Woodward gave a lot of credit to his offensive line as the Pirates were able to rush for 243 yards on 26 attempts, which is a little over 9 yards a carry.
“We’ve got a lot of things to look at and evaluate,” Woodward said. “But just from my mind, I was real impressed with our offensive line tonight. The preparation that they did, I thought that they were just outstanding tonight — Bailey Moore, CJ Hall, Mike Collins, Brandon Williams and Caleb Browning — I thought they were driving all night. All those guys gave great protection.”
The Pirate defense was also involved in the game, limiting Jackson (3-2) to 272 yards on the night. The defense also made crucial plays, ensuring a comeback wasn’t in the works.
Late in the second half, with the Ironmen trailing 21-13, Jackson was attempting to add points before halftime. However, stepping in front of a seam pass was Xander Carmichael who set Wheelersburg up at the end of the first half, allowing the Pirates to add a field goal to make it a two-score game at 24-13 — a lead that was never challenged during the final 24 minutes.
Wheelersburg will put its perfect record on the line next week as the Pirates travel to Oak Hill.
Wheelersburg — Holden 42 yd. fumble return (Lewis kick), 11:46
Wheelersburg — Newsome 8 yd run (Lewis kick), 7:22
Jackson —Storms 14 yd run (Hall kick), 11:55
Wheelersburg — Dyer 78 yd run (Lewis kick), 6:25
Jackson — McCoy 25 yd pass from Hall (Kick blocked), 3:54
Wheelersburg — Lewis 34 yd field goal, :06.1
Wheelersburg — Bivens 5 yd run (Lewis kick), 8:31
Wheelersburg — Bivens 2 yd pass from Dyer (Lewis kick), 4:23
Rushing — Jackson:McCoy 11-74, Storms 7-55, Farley 19-51, Hall 4-19, Neal 1-6, Ghram 1-3; Wheelersburg: Dyer 8-116, Holden 1-42, Newsome 7-41, Reyes 6-35, Bivens 1-5, Carmichael 3-4
Passing — Jackson: Hall 8-18-64; Wheelersburg: Dyer 11-19-166
Receiving — Jackson: McCoy 5-48, Farley 2-11, Evans 1-5; Wheelersburg: Bivens 3-39, Hatfield 1-39, Reyes 1-34, Newsome 2-23, Canary 2-17, Holden 2-14.
Jackson 3-2; Wheelersburg 5-0.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.