‘Burg, West maintain top-five status in AP Poll

By Kevin Colley - kcolley@aimmediamidwest.com

Over the course of the year, the Wheelersburg Pirates’ and the West Senators’ football programs have proven to be nothing but consistent throughout the course of the 2017 season.

And in Monday evening’s Division V AP Football Poll, the duo were, once again, represented at the very top line of the best teams in Division V as Wheelersburg collected 213 points and six first-place votes to obtain second place in the poll, while West obtained 199 points for a fourth-place showing in the latest version of the rankings.

Wheelersburg, who defeated Minford by a 59-6 tally on the road last Friday, was led by another excellent performance from Trent Salyers, who threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns while completing 15 of his 18 passes on the evening. His 15 passes went to seven different Pirate receivers. Ashton Clevenger added 90 yards on just 11 carries (8.2 yard-per-carry average) to lead a Wheelersburg unit that obtained 209 yards on just 23 carries on the ground, while Tanner Holden and Cole Lowery each obtained more than 70 yards receiving in just one-half of football.

For the year, Salyers, who has completed 109 of his 161 passes through the air, has thrown for 24 touchdowns to just four interceptions (a six-to-one ratio) and now has 2,085 yards passing in his first full season as the varsity starter. Dominic Reyes (69 carries, 384 yards, seven touchdowns) and Salyers (50 carries, 305 yards, seven touchdowns) head a ground game that has rushed for 1,543 yards and 25 touchdowns on 251 carries in 2017. Clevenger (25 carries, 202 yards) has also been critical to the success of the attack.

Aiding Salyers all year long in the receiving game has been the big-play ability of classmate Tanner Holden, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season against Minford and now has 1,047 yards and 16 touchdown receptions on 49 catches for the year. Lowery (28 catches, 511 yards, two TD) has also been a critical component in the passing game.

Defensively, Evan Dahm (43 tackles) and Xander Carmichael (42 stops) have headed a defense that has given up 548 rushing yards on 240 carries, along with just 8.4 points per game, in 2017. Nic Parsley (34 tackles, three sacks), Alex George (31 tackles, sack), and Bryson Keeney (31 tackles) have all been vital to the defense’s excellence in 2017.

As for West, the Senators continued to roll by showing impressive late-game poise yet again in a 31-27 victory over Waverly — making the program a perfect 3-0 in a game that has been decided by six points or less. Garrett Hurd’s 189 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries, along with Dylan Bradford’s 168 total yards and three scores from the quarterback position and Cody Staggs’ 12 tackles, were among the standout efforts for West in its victory over the Tigers.

For the year, Bradford has shown excellent poise from the quarterback position throughout the duration of the 2017 season as the junior has thrown for 867 yards and rushed for 252 additional tallies en route to 1,143 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2017. The gunslinger has only thrown three interceptions by comparison.

From a rushing standpoint, Hurd sits just 24 yards away from the golden mark of 1,000 for the year as the junior hand has rushed for 974 yards and nine touchdowns on 163 carries in 2017. Hurd has run for an average of 6.0 yards per carry in 2017. Josh Berry has added 695 all-purpose yards to come up large time and time again on the offensive side of the football, including 295 yards and three touchdowns receiving through the air.

Defensively, Cody Staggs continues to pace the pass coverage area as the rock-solid 6-3, 190-pounder holds five interceptions to his name, while Berry, Jakeb Guilkey, Ryan Spriggs, and Isaiah Norman all made significant impacts from a tackling standpoint in West’s gritty victory.

As for Friday evening’s action, the Senators will host Cincinnati Shroder (2-6), while Wheelersburg will travel to play Valley (3-5). Both kickoffs are slated for 7 p.m.

By Kevin Colley


Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7

Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7