BRET BEVENS/Southern Ohio Today

Wheelersburg's Eric Lattimore weaves through Bishop Ready defenders during Saturday's Division V Region 19 quarterfinal. The Pirates defeated Bishop Ready 31-21 and earned a spot in the semifinals against second-seeded Ridgewood.

Key drive sparks 'Burg victory over Bishop Ready


Southern Ohio Today

WHEELERSBURG – The Wheelersburg Pirates will advance to the Division V Region 19 semifinals after a 31-21 win over Columbus Bishop Ready on Saturday night at Ed Miller Stadium.

A Wheelersburg drive that covered 98 yards and took almost six and half minutes off the clock and spilled into the fourth quarter ended with an Eli Swords two-yard touchdown plunge. The critical drive put the Pirates up two scores with 11 minutes remaining.

The drive saw some strong running by Swords and two double passes, where quarterback Jake Gregg lateraled the ball to Matthew Miller before Miller hooked up with Case Dyer for two big first downs.

“That (drive) was a big turning point in the game,” Wheelersburg Coach Rob Woodward said. “Matthew Miller’s two big passes in that drive that let us continue to move the ball down the field. Also, Eli Swords and his running was outstanding.”

Bishop Ready would trim the lead to 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter on 14-yard touchdown pass from Darius Parham to Andy Schulze. Evan O’Connell’s extra point cut the lead three.

Moments later, the Sliver Knights had appeared to recover an on-side kick, but the ball did not travel the required 10 yards and possession went back to Wheelersburg.

The Pirates pushed the lead back to 10 with 2:45 left in the contest on a seven-yard touchdown run by Kenny Sanderlin. Braxton Sammons’ extra point made the final score.

Just 93 seconds into the game the Silver Knights came up with a turnover. Their defense hopped on a loose ball after a fumble, but Bishop Ready could not capitalize on the early Pirates miscue as Wheelersburg’s defense forced a three and out.

On their next possession, the Pirates offense was more efficient. They marched 77 yards in five plays ending with a 14-yard touchdown run by Eric Lattimore to put Wheelersburg up 6–0. Sammons added the extra point.

Bishop Ready (5-3) responded with a scoring drive of its own. The Silver Knights drove 80 yards in seven plays and scored when Brian Fitzsimmons punched it in from four yards out. The O’Connell PAT knotted the game.

Early in the second quarter it appeared that the Silver Knights had stalled the Pirates scoring drive, but Sammons drilled a 42-yard field goal with 11:34 to play in the first half and the Pirates would never relinquish the lead.

After the defense forced another three and out, Wheelersburg was at it again. A six play, 43-yard drive culminated with a 20-yard touchdown run by Miller and Sammons’ PAT to put the Pirates up 17-7.

With time ticking away in the first half, Bishop Ready, aided by a Wheelersburg penalty, was able set up in Wheelersburg territory to start a drive. The Silver Knights moved the ball down the field and Fitzsimmons scored, for the second time, on a three-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good and Wheelersburg’s was trimmed to 17-14 heading into the locker room.

In the second half, the defenses ruled in the early going. The Silver Knights looked to be in business with excellent field position after it recovered a Wheelersburg fumble in the third quarter. However, the Wheelersburg defense wasn’t to be outdone and Clark grabbed his second pick of the night to give the ball back to his offense.

The Pirates then took off on the critical 98-yard drive.

Miller had nine grabs for 72 yards. He rushed for 13 yards and a touchdown and threw two passed for 69 yards.

The third-seeded Pirates (7-1) will travel to West Lafayette on Saturday to play second-seeded seeded Ridgewood.

BISHOP READY          7    7   0    7    -   21

WHEELERSBURG      7  10   0   14   -   31

WB –Eric Lattimore 14 run (Braxton Sammons kick)

BR - Brian Fitzsimmons 4 run (Evan O’Connell kick)

WB – Braxton Sammons 42 field goal

WB – Matthew Miller 20 run (Braxton Sammons kick)

BR - Brain Fitzsimmons 3 run (Evan O’Connell kick)

WB – Eli Swords 2 run (Braxton Sammons kick)

BR – Andy Schulze 14 pass from Darius Parham (Evan O’Connell kick)

WB – Kenny Sanderlin 7 run (Braxton Sammoms kick)

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