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Hornets, Stapleton outlast Trojans in wild OVC game, 66-63


Portsmouth Trojans’ Amare Johnson (11) grabs the facemask of Coal Grove Hornets’ running back Austin Stapleton (right) during Friday’s OVC game. The Trojans tried everything they could to stop Stapleton who ran 37 times for 348 yards and four touchdowns as the Hornets won a 66-63 shootout. (Tony Shotsky/Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

COAL GROVE — Not even the O.K. Corral could claim this kind of a shootout.
With more than 1,000 yards of total offense between the two teams, the Coal Grove Hornets held on to outlast the Portsmouth Trojans 66-63 in a wild Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday.
Coal Grove (2-2, 2-2) was missing several starters due to a COVID-19 quarantine but relied on the running of senior fullback Austin Stapleton who carried 37 times for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
His touchdown in the first half made him the Hornets’ all-time leader in touchdowns scored in a career.
Chase Hall added 99 yards on 17 carries and he scored three times including the game-winner. The Hornets had 491 total yards — all on the ground.
Portsmouth (1-4, 1-4) racked up 643 total yards with junior quarterback Drew Roe completing 29-of 36 passes for 472 yards and five TDs. He also ran for a pair of scores.
Amare Johnson ran 10 times for 149 yards and caught seven passes for 67 yards. Jesse Dixon caught six passes for 103 yards, Reade Pendleton had seven grabs for 119 yards and Chris Duff had four receptions for 116 yards.
Coal Grove went 56 yards in 10 plays to open the game and Steven Simpson ran 7 yards for the score. Justin Newcomb’s kick made it 7-0.
A 56-yard pass to Pendleton got the ball to the Hornets’ 9-yard line and three plays later Roe hit Pendleton with a 9-yard scoring strike.
The conversion kick was block.
The Hornets came right back and scored on a 27-yard run by Hall to lead 14-7 with 2:15 left in the quarter.
Things really began to heat up in the second quarter as the teams combined for 58 points.
Roe ran 10 yards for a TD and hit Duff with the conversion pass less than two minutes into the quarter.
Hall had an 8-yard scoring run but Johnson answered with a 3-yard run and Portsmouth led 21-20
Coal Grove was forced to punt but Portsmouth threw a backwards lateral that went for a fumble and the Hornets recovered at the Trojans 28.
Two plays later, Stapleton ran 16 yards for the score and added the conversion for a 28-21 lead.
Johnson ran 72 yards to the Hornets’ 7-yard line and Alberto Poxes scored on the next play to tie the game.
Coal Grove lost a fumble at its own 39 and Roe hit Duff with a scoring strike on the next play as Portsmouth went up 35-28 with 2:23 left in the half.
Coal Grove went 65 yards in just four plays with Stapleton going the final 14 for the touchdown with 1:14 on the clock.
Stapleton ran for the conversion and Coal Grove led 36-35.
But a 37-yard pass to Dixon and a facemask penalty got the ball to the Hornets 6-yard line and Roe hit Pendleton with a scoring pass on the next play with just 13 seconds left in the half.
Bowling’s kick made it 42-36 at the break.
A 49-yard run by Johnson had the ball at the Hornets 4-yard line two plays into the second half, but the Trojans fumbled the ball going into the end zone and Coal Grove recovered for a touchback.
Coal Grove then went 80 yards in eight plays with Hall running the final 3 yards. He also ran for the conversion and a 44-42 lead with 7:36 on the clock.
Portsmouth answered with a 14-yard scoring pass form Roe to Dixon and the Trojans were up 49-44.
The Hornets matched the Trojans again by marching 60 yards in five plays as Stapleton went 4 yards for the TD and Hall’s conversion run put them up 52-49.
Portsmouth got one more score before the end of the quarter as Roe hit Duff on a 52-yard scoring pass on a fourth-and-9 play and it was 56-52.
Coal Grove regained the lead with a drive that began in the third quarter and ended with 8:59 to play as Stapleton ran 8 yards for a touchdown. Hall added the conversion run and it was 60-56.
Portsmouth went back in front for the final time as Roe marched the Trojans 70 yards in seven plays capped by a 5-yard scoring toss to Duff and it was 63-60.
Coal Grove went 51 yards in 13 plays and converted a fourth-and-2 and a fourth-and-3 plays with 1:54 left to keep the drive alive.
Following a facemask penalty, Hall ran 4 yards for the go-ahead score with 1:02 left. The conversion run failed.
Portsmouth still had life as Roe hit two passes for 23 yards and a roughing the passer penalty got the ball to midfield.
Roe then completed a pass for 17 yards but the Trojans’ receiver fumbled the ball and Coal Grove recovered at the 32-yard line with 26 seconds to play.
The Hornets took a knee as the clock ran out.
Next Friday, Coal Grove host Chesapeake and Portsmouth entertains Gallipolis.
Portsmouth 6 36 14 7 = 63
Coal Grove 14 22 16 14 = 66
First Quarter
CG – Steven Simpson 7 run (Justin Newcomb kick) 6:41
Prt – Reade Pendleton 9 pass from Drew Roe (kick blocked) 5:20
CG – Chase Hall 27 run (Justin Newcomb kick) 2:15
Second Quarter
Prt – Drew Roe 10 run (Chris Duff pass from Drew Roe) 10:18
CG – Chase Hall 8 run (kick failed) 8:59
Prt _ Amare Johnson 3 run (Joel Bowling kick) 6:58
CG – Austin Stapleton 16 run (Stapleton run) 3:55
Prt – Alberto Poxes 7 run (Joel Bowling kick) 3:23
Prt – Chris Duff 39 pass from Drew Roe (Joel Bowling kick) 2:23
CG – Austin Stapleton 14 run (Stapleton run) 1:14
Prt – Reade Pendleton 6 pass from Drew Roe (Joel Bowling kick) 0:13
Third Quarter
CG – Chase Hall 3 run (Hall run) 7:36
Prt – Jesse Dixon 14 pass from Drew roe (Joel Bowling kick) 4:48
CG – Austin Stapleton 4 run (Chase Hall run) 2:36
Prt – Chris Duff 52 pass from Drew Roe (Joel Bowling kick) 1:27
Fourth Quarter
CG – Austin Stapleton 8 run (Chase Hall run) 9:59
Prt – Drew Roe 11 run (Joel Bowling kick) 6:27
CG – Chase Hall 4 run (run failed) 1:02
——
Prt CG
First downs 27 24
Rushes-yards 16-171 67-491
Passing yards 472 0
Total yards 643 491
Cmp-Att-Int 29-36-0 0-1-0
Fumbles-lost 3-3 5-1
Penalties-yards 8-49 4-40
Punts-average 0-00.0 1-36.0
——
Individual Leaders
RUSHING —Portsmouth: Amare Johnson 10-149, Drew Roe 4-12, Alberto Poxes 2-10; Coal Grove: Austin Stapleton 37-348, Chase Hall 17-99, Steven Simpson 6-43, Whyatt Mannon 6-2, team 1-minus 1.
PASSING — Portsmouth: Drew Roe 29-36-0 472; Coal Grove: Whyatt Mannon 0-1-0.
RECEIVING — Portsmouth: Reade Pendleton 7-119, Jesse Dixon 6-103, Amare Johnson 7-67, Chris Duff 4-116, Hayden Griffith 3-34, Michael Duncan 2-33; Coal Grove: None.