The Jackson Ironmen would travel to Wheelersburg on Friday night to face the Pirates for one of the area’s more underrated rivalry games.
The matchup of the two elite teams would be all defense to start the game with little to no offense for the beginning of the first quarter. The first quarter of play would see no scoring and no big plays, each side getting a sack and entering the second tied 0-0.
The scoreboard would see its first action with 9:35 left in the second as Tanner Holden jumped an Ironman route and took a pick six 67 yards down the field to put the Pirates up 7-0 after the made extra point by Jalen Miller.
Two drives after the pick six, Wheelersburg would drive the ball down the field, capping off the possession with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Trent Salyers to Makya Matthews. After a missed extra point, Wheelersburg led Jackson 13-0 with a little over two minutes left in the half.
Jackson moved quickly with the time they had, driving all the way down the field inside the twenty but were unable to punch it in as a completed pass and tackle in bounds took the game into halftime.
The Pirates would get the ball to start the second half and get right to work early as Trent Salyers scrambled for a 49 yard touchdown rush, putting the Pirates ahead 20-0 after a converted extra point.
Jackson would show they were not backing down just yet though as Jaiden Spires returned the following kickoff to the Wheelersburg 29, giving their offense good field position. A few plays later in the same drive, Jackson would score its first touchdown off a wild play, recovering a fumble in the endzone after it popped out right at the 1 yard line. Wheelersburg would lead 20-7 after the score.
The talented Pirates offense came out firing on all cylinders, however, scoring their second 3rd quarter touchdown after Salyers connected with Holden for 64 yards with 5:15 left in the third quarter. Wheelersburg would lead Jackson 27-7 after the converted extra point, giving them a comfortable lead heading into the final stretch of the game.
Jackson would work their way to midfield and eventually punch in a touchdown from 48 yards after a Reid Evans reception, bringing the score to 27-14 after the converted extra point attempt with 2:18 left in the high scoring 3rd quarter.
Jackson was unable to regain control of the game for the first half of the fourth quarter after punting once and getting an offsides call on fourth down with 10 minutes left in the contest. The Pirates would drive down the field and score, capping off the drive with a 29-yard touchdown run by Makya Matthews to put them up 33-14 after a missed extra point with 7:53 left in the ball game.
With Wheelersburg leading by 19 in the fourth, Jackson would never be able to regain control of the game, fumbling with five minutes left in the fourth, giving the Pirates time to run the clock out and come out with another win after high scoring 3rd quarter.
After the game, Wheelersburg head coach Rob Woodward spoke on his offense and how they were able to execute, “We had a great performance out of our offense tonight. All of our offensive weapons were very effective tonight against a nice game plan that Jackson brought in.”
Wheelersburg will travel to Oak Hill next Friday night to face the reigning SOC I champion Oak Hill Oaks. “We’ve got to make sure we’ve got ourselves ready to go on the road and play Pirate football,” said Woodward when asked about how he plans to prepare his team for their week six road trip. Kickoff for that game is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT