Coal Grove, Fairland a contrast of styles
By JIM WALKER/Tribune Sports Editor
One likes to go over the fence, the other likes to go under it.
In a distinct contrast of styles, the Coal Grove Hornets will pit their running game against the Fairland Dragons passing attack when the teams begin Ohio Valley Conference play Friday at Lemaster Stadium.
The Hornets send a group of running backs at opponents led by Frank Delawder who has rushed 71 times for 413 yards and five touchdowns in four games.
Matt Cooper had 44 carries for 176 yards and four scores while Jacob Jenkins had 44 attempts for 211 yards.
“They have what appears to be a very solid line with backs who run very hard. They look like Coal Grove teams of the past,” said Fairland coach Brent Wilcoxon. “We have to kept them from shoving it down our throats.”
Fairland (2-3) is known for its passing game that centers around quarterback Cole Hatfield, 79 of 136 on the season for 1,150 yards and eight touchdowns.
Michael Lamb leads Fairland with 27 catches for 403 yards and three scores. Chad Fisher had 16 grabs for 197 yards and Matt Bloomfield 12 receptions for 195 yards.
“Lamb is a nice player. He made a great catch last week,” said Hornets coach Dave Lucas. “They’re pretty good athletes. The key for us is to move the ball. If we can do that, we’ll be okay. And we have to stop the big play.”
Fairland has added the single-wing to its offense. The move led to Jordan Kersey running for 283 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 48-43 win over Meigs.
Lucas began as an assistant coach at Fairland under Jim Mayo who ran the single-wing.
“It’s not the same as ours. They do different things out of it,” said Lucas. “They have good speed. You have to get them before they get started.”
Fairland averages 32 points a game, but is yielding 29.6 a game. Despite the numbers, Lucas doesn’t discredit the Fairland defense.
“He’s better de defensively that he’s been in the past few years,” said Lucas.
Coal Grove won a 27-26 thriller last year and outscored the Dragons 52-50 three years ago.
“(Coal Grove) is similar in style to Sheldon Clark. They just come right at you,” said Wilcoxon. “They’re doing a lot of different things on defense. They mix things up and keep you confused.
“I’d like to keep our high-scoring offense. We have to stop their 10- and 13-play drives that have haunted us in the past where they just eat up the clock.”
Coal Grove (3-1) had an open date last week when Sciotoville East bought its way out of the contract. Lucas doesn’t know what effect it will have on his team to sit idle.
“It was kind of frustrating because the kids want to play,” said Lucas.