PDT Sports Contributor
WHEELERSBURG – When adversity hits in the game of football, it is usually said that the best thing to do is to show some mental resolve and persevere through the struggles that the game has to offer.
In a game that featured a total of 1,041 yards and 40 first downs between the Wheelersburg Pirates and the Fairland Dragons, the Pirates used some resolve to pull out a 49-32 victory at Ed Miller Stadium, thanks to Eddie Miller III’s five touchdowns and clutch defensive play by the Pirates.
“I told them before the game that we can only control the things that we can control and there’s so many things that take place that we can’t control and there were some,” Woodward said. “You can’t do anything about that except to try to move forward and work through that adversity, and I thought our kids did a great job and worked through it.”
Wheelersburg would start the offensive fireworks with a bang as Miller III found Tyler Claxon for a 29-yard touchdown pass to cap a 4-play, 80-yard drive that took just 56 seconds off of the clock and put the Pirates up early by a score of 7-0.
After forcing the Dragons to go three-and-out, the Pirates struck again with a Miller III 23-yard touchdown run to pad the lead to 14-0.
Wheelersburg would force another three-and-out and would let Miller work his magic again as he found Camron Parsley over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown reception to put the Pirates up by a score of 21-0 with 4:53 still to go in the first quarter.
Fairland would get things going and would ending up scoring less than a minute and a half later as Chance Short would score on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. However, Wheelersburg would counter with a score of their own less than two minutes into the second quarter as Miller III took off down the right sideline for a 56-yard touchdown run to put the Pirates up 28-7.
The Dragons would move the ball right down the field and would score less than three minutes later on another 1-yard plunge by Short to close the gap to 28-14, where the score would stand after the halftime break.
Claxon would put the Pirates on the board first after he took a backwards pass from Miller and raced 27 yards down the sideline for another Wheelersburg touchdown, extending the lead to 35-14.
It only took 15 seconds for Fairland to answer right back with a touchdown of their own as Maddox took the first play from scrimmage on the drive and raced up field for a 73-yard touchdown run to cut the gap to 35-21.
After the Dragons caused Miller III to intentionally ground the ball in the endzone, Fairland would race back up the field and would add a 24-yard field goal by Philip Beaty to cut the Pirate lead to 35-26.
However, Wheelersburg would take control in the fourth quarter and would ice the game with two Miller III touchdowns that gave the Pirates a 23-point lead with 1:29 left.
Fairland would fight until the very end and would add a touchdown via another sneak from Short as time expired to end the game and the scoring.
For next week, the Pirates will travel to Jackson while Fairland will host Athens. The Bulldogs defeated the Ironmen 49-0 Friday night in Athens.
Wheelersburg 21 7 7 14 —49
Fairland 7 7 12 6 —32
W-Claxon 28 pass from Miller III (Lewis kick) 11:04
W-Miller III 23 run (Lewis kick) 6:18
W-Parsley 18 pass from Miller III (Lewis kick) 4:53
F-Short 1 run (Beaty kick) 3:26
W-Miller III 56 run (Lewis kick) 10:04
F-Short 1 run (Beaty kick) 7:01
W-Claxon 27 pass from Miller III (Lewis kick) 7:35
F-Maddox 73 run (Beaty kick) 7:20
F-TEAM safety 3:12
W-Miller III 4 run (Lewis kick) 7:38
W-Miller III 5 run (Lewis kick) 1:08
F-Short 2 run (PAT not attempted) 0:00
Rushing: Wheelersburg – Miller III 15-159, Ellis 9-70, May 5-32, Claxon 1-27, D. Miller 2-13, McAllister 2-8, Parsley 2-1. Fairland – N/A.
Passing: Wheelersburg– Miller III 18-32-2 238; Fairland- Short 24-41-1 301
Receiving: Wheelersburg-Claxon 10-115, D. Miller 9-54, May 5-33, Parsley 2-36, Ellis 2-0, Cunningham 1-0 Fairland – N/A.