Behind another spectacular performance at Ed Miller Stadium, the Wheelersburg Pirates showed no signs of slowing down as the No. 4-ranked Pirates, behind four total touchdowns from Trent Salyers and another dominating effort from its defensive unit — which held Oak Hill to 118 yards of total offense — ran amuck in a 44-0 victory over the Oaks on Friday evening in a nonconference bout.
From the outset, Salyers proved to be on target in another fantastic performance from the Pirates, as the junior completed 11 of his 12 passes for 169 yards and a trio of scores. The 6-1, 175-pound signal-caller collected on touchdown passes of six and two yards, respectively, to Tanner Holden, added a 22-yard strike to Avery Donini, and ran for a 22-yard touchdown by the 7:16 mark of the second quarter. Dominic Reyes sandwiched a 21-yard touchdown run into the scoring margin as Wheelersburg collected a 34-0 lead by the aforementioned timespan.
With the contest well in hand at this point, the Pirates’ reserves received additional playing time during the affair. Ashton Clevenger and Hunter Ruby, who have shown promise in limited carries throughout the 2017 campaign, combined to rush for 77 yards on eight carries against the Oaks, with Clevenger scoring Wheelersburg’s final touchdown on a two-yard dive with 5:43 to play in the opening half. Jalen Miller’s 29-yard field goal with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter capped off the scoring.
For the contest, Wheelersburg despite running just 38 plays to Oak Hill’s 52 and being outpossessed by nearly seven minutes from a time of possession standpoint, collected 314 yards to the Oaks’ 118. The Pirates’ defense held Oak Hill to 0-of-6 passing during the course of the affair while holding the Oaks’ rushing attack to a paltry 2.6 yard-per-carry average.
Individually, Salyers completed his 11 passes to eight different Wheelersburg receivers, with Holden leading the charge behind his 44 yards and two touchdowns on three catches. Cole Lowery and Bryson Keeney added 43 yards on two catches and 35 yards on a pair of catches, respectively, while Donini (one reception, 22 yards, TD), Trey Carter (one catch, 12 yards), Makya Matthews (one catch, eight yards), and Dustin Darnell (one catch, five yards) all caught at least one pass on the evening.
Defensively, an astonishing 35 players made at least one tackle for the Pirates, including Xander Carmichael, who made six solo tackles on the evening. Evan Dahm added five stops while Jeremiah Dempsey and Chase Stidham added four tackles — with the latter collecting a sack — to head the charge. Lane Charles picked off a pass, and Alex George, along with Drew Blair, recovered fumbles to round out yet another fantastic defensive effort.
With the victory, Wheelersburg, who improved to 6-0 on the season, has now outscored its opponents by a staggering 255-40 mark, which correlates to an average of 42.5 points scored against a scant 6.7 points given up on the year. The Pirates will put those marks to the test again when Waverly visits Ed Miller Stadium on Friday evening.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7