PDT Sports Writer
MINFORD — After a stalemate in the first quarter of Friday’s SOC II contest, it didn’t take long for Wheelersburg to take advantage of Minford’s first miscue of the game.
When the Pirates seized the opportunity, they took apart the homestanding Falcons with a 21-point second quarter and cruised to a 42-13 victory thanks to 343 yards of total offense and four touchdowns alone by quarterback Eddie Miller. The Wheelersburg win sets up next week’s matchup between two 9-0 teams as Valley visits Ed Miller Stadium with at least a share of the SOC II on the line.
“We’re just trying to keep plays moving, keep the ball moving and keep things going,” Pirates coach Rob Woodward said. “Eddie does a great job of orchestrating and throwing the ball… He was the one getting into the endzone there at times because when you get down there, he recognizes situations where he kind of improvises in certain situations and makes some calls.”
Wheelersburg capitalized on the first mistake of the contest, a Cody Stapleton interception by Kyle Davis at the Minford 45 on the first play of the second quarter put the Pirates in enemy territory for the first time in the contest.
“A tremendous play by our sophomore Kyle Davis,” Woodward said. “He’s been getting better and better as he grows with the understanding of the defense and the understanding of varsity football and he made a big play in the game tonight. That got things sparked and that got things started, you always look for that big play in a big game like this.”
Eddie Miller punctuated the four-play, 45-yard drive with a 3-yard run.
Dylan Miller recovered his own onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and placed Wheelersburg at the Falcon 43. Six plays later, Jordan Howard punched the ball in from 6 yards out. Howard had 23 yards on seven totes.
“It’s fun for a coach to see those kind of kids step in there,” Wooward said. “We’ve been waiting for him to have a break out game and I think he did that tonight on a big stage and in a big game.”
Minford coach Brent Daniels said the recovery was a big swing in momentum.
“That’s something we worked on all week, I know they had it in their repertoire and we worked on it all week,” Daniels said. “We took off to quick and they got us on it.”
Austin May caught a 71-yard strike from Eddie Miller on the next possession to put the Pirates up 21-0, a score that would stand until the half. Wheelersburg went into the locker room with a 212-23 advantage in total yardage.
The Pirates withstood a march by the Falcons in their initial drive of the second half but a muffed snap on fourth down at the Wheelersburg 30 placed the Pirates on their own 47 and with possession of the pigskin. In just eight short plays, Eddie Miller connected with Dylan Miller for his only touchdown pass of the evening, an 18-yard strike, late in the third to increase the lead to four touchdowns.
“We made way too many penalties and too many mistakes,” Daniels said. “Good ball clubs like that, you cannot make that many mistakes as we did tonight and they took advantage of it.”
Dylan Miller had 11 catches for 101 yards on the night.
The Falcons broke the shutout bid early in the fourth when Stapleton found Matt Joyce for a 9-yard pitch-and-catch. After a 5-yard scamper by Eddie Miller, the night’s scoring was finished on a Levi Jenkins 3-yard rush and Eddie Miller’s 27-yard bootleg.
Daniels was pleased with his way was able to fight for the entire 48 minutes.
“I told the kids that I don’t want to see quitters and that’s unacceptable with 24 minutes to play in football,” Daniels said. “They came out and I thought they played their butts off for the last 24 minutes and gave me everything they had. For that, I’m proud of them.”
With next week’s contest against the Indians now a part of their focus, Woodward wants to look at it as 0-0 against 0-0. He does expect a very physical game between the two adversaries. Minford travels next week to Waverly.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.
W 0 21 7 14 — 42
M 0 0 0 13 — 13
W—E. Miller 3 run (Lewis kick) 10:41
W—Howard 6 run (Lewis kick) 8:10
W—May 71 pass from E. Miller (Lewis kick) 4:33
W—D. Miller 18 pass from E. Miller (Lewis kick) 1:22
M—Joyce 9 pass from Stapleton (Joyce kick) 9:42
W—E. Miller 5 run (Lewis kick) 6:41
M—Jenkins 3 run (kick failed) 5:08
W—E. Miller 27 run (Lewis kick) 1:55
First Downs 16 9
Rush Att.-Yds. 21-111 35-82
Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 31-23-1 13-4-1
Pass Yds. 259 28
Total Yds. 370 110
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Turnovers 1 2
Penalties-Yds. 10-89 6-60
Punts-Avg. 3-33.3 5-34.8
RUSHING: W — E. Miller 12-84, Howard 7-23, McAlister 1-3, Parsley 1-1; M — Compton 3-44, Justice 12-35, Carter 3-8, Jenkins 3-7, Stapleton 11-(-4).
PASSING: W — E. Miller 23-31-1 259; M — Stapleton 4-13-1 28.
RECEIVING: W — D. Miller 11-101, May 2-76, Claxon 4-33, Howard 4-23, Cunningham 1-14, Parsley 1-12; M — Joyce 2-19, Clark 1-8, Justice 1-1.
Records — Wheelersburg 8-0 (3-0); Minford 6-2 (1-2).