WHEELERSBURG, Ohio — The Pirates capped off a perfect season — their first since the 1989 season when they won the state championship. With the 56-14 win over the West Senators, Wheelersburg also captured the SOC II title outright after breezing through the conference slate.
“A perfect record comes down to our senior leadership, ” Pirates coach Rob Woodward said. “These kids have been building, as sophomores they had a great group ahead of them. As juniors they had a great group ahead of them and now they’ve stepped into this role and they’ve taken these young players under their wings. They’ve gone out, they’ve played lights out, they’ve practiced lights out, they did everything they needed to do to lead them to this point and I’m so excited for them that it’s come together.”
Wheelersburg (10-0, 4-0) was led by Kyle Davis who carved up the Senator defense with his arm. Davis completed 7-of-8 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Davis also added one touchdown on the ground, an 8-yard scamper in the second quarter.
“Kyle has been sensational,” Woodward said. “He has exceeded every expectation that you could set for a quarterback. First year, he has waited his turn and when his opportunity came, he has made the most of it with his feet and with his arm. But most importantly, with his leadership and his presence in the locker room and on the field.”
Jordan Howard also showed his versatility, scoring two touchdowns — one through the air and one on the ground. As a team, the Pirates racked up 425 yards on the night as they scored touchdowns on their first seven possessions — including a perfect 5-for-5 in the opening 24 minutes.
Defensively, Wheelersburg continued to dominate, allowing 187 yards on the night — 44 yards in the opening half.
“I remember sitting in the office on media day and one of the first things I said was watch the Pirates’ defense this year,” Woodward said. “I knew we had some guys that could be outstanding … Our players have made plays. They’ve just done an outstanding job.”
West (4-6, 2-2) wasn’t able to sustain any offensive momentum as the Senators were only able to pick up three first downs in the first half.
“Give credit to Wheelersburg, they’ve done that to every opponent they’ve had all year,” Senators coach Ben Johnson said. “They have an outstanding defense and they are good in all phases of offense. Sometimes you’ve just got to give credit to your opponent.
As the 2015 season comes to a close for West, Johnson is proud of his team for competing until the final whistle.
“We’ve had all kinds of set backs and adversities, but they just kept coming back, working hard in practice and getting better, and they improved all the way through this last week,” Johnson said. “So I’m proud of that.
“We had a lot of young guys get a lot of experience and they improved week to week. Hopefully we can keep building on that in the future.”
Wheelersburg will play at home next week as the Pirates await their first-round playoff opponent.
Unusual names top the list: both teams had reserve players lead the way on the ground. Wheelersburg was led by Dominic Reyes who rushed six times for 52 yards (an average of 8.6 yards per carry). Ryan Spriggs nearly reached the century mark for West, finishing with 93 yards on nine carries (all coming in the second half).
Quarterback competition? While Kyle Davis’ job is not even close to being in jeopardy, Wheelersburg appears to have a capable replacement waiting in the wings. The Pirate starting quarterback was pulled at halftime after Wheelersburg had built a sizable 35-0 lead. Sophomore Mack Dyer played the entire second half and did not disappoint. Dyer went 2-for-2 for 103 yards, which was capped off by a 63-yard touchdown strike to Mike Hanna. Dyer also rushed for 31 yards and two scores.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.
Wheelersburg — Howard 14 yd. run (Lewis kick), 9:11
Wheelersburg — Newsome 40 yd. pass from Davis (Lewis kick), 6:05
Wheelersburg — Howard 24 yd. pass from Davis (Lewis kick), :58
Wheelersburg — Davis 8 yd. run (Lewis kick), 5:36
Wheelersburg — Cooper 2 yd. (Lewis kick), 1:49
Wheelersburg — Dyer 27 yd. run (Miller kick), 10:16
West — Bailey 27 yd. pass from Douthat (Hoggard kick), 3:08
Wheelersburg — Hanna 69 yd. pass from Dyer (Miller kick), 2:26
West — Douthat 1 yd. run (Hoggard), 9:50
Wheelersburg — Dyer 6 yd. run (Miller kick), 3:45
Rushing — West: Spriggs 9-93, Lenegar 16-29, Kegley 1-(-1), Douthat 9-(1), Bradford 2-(-5); Wheelersburg: Reyes 6-52, Newsome 4-40, Dyer 3-31, Howard 3-30, Davis 3-25, Cooper 2-5, Swords 1-2, Bivens 1-0.
Passing — West: Douthat 8-14-72, Bradford 0-1; Wheelersburg: Davis 7-8-115, Dyer 2-2-103, Howard 1-1-22..
Receiving — West: Bailey 2-45, Bays 2-25, Lenegar 1-3, Reed 3-(-1); Wheelersburg: Hanna 1-69, Newsome 1-40, Howard 2-35, Canary 1-34, Hatfield 1-26, Doerr 1-22, Darnell 1-4, Bivens 1-1.
West 4-6 (2-2), Wheelersburg 10-0 (4-0).