Brock Netter, Staff Writer
JACKSON — For the last seven years, Wheelersburg-Jackson has been one of the most highly-touted games in Southern Ohio, and for good reason.
Both the Pirates and Ironmen have clinched playoff berths in each of the last five seasons, and have made their fair share of deep postseason runs.
When it comes to head-to-head matchups, the Pirates have walked away victorious in six of the last seven meetings … since the rivalry was restored back in 2012.
|38-28||All-Time Postseason Record||7-13|
|7||Consecutive Playoff Appearances||2|
|38-7 win over Greenup County (Ky.)||Last week’s results||56-21 win over Western Brown|
Overall, Wheelersburg leads the series 15-7, but Jackson aims to take a game back and has the experience factor on its side this time.
For those attending, get ready for a slugfest … and be sure to get there early, the stands will be packed.
Here’s a preview for SOSA’s Game of the Week:
WHEELERSBURG PIRATES (2-2)
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Aaron Masters (QB), Makya Matthews (RB), Hunter Ruby (WR)
Starting out the season against Ironton and Bishop Hartley is as tough as it gets in Southern Ohio. But despite an 0-2 start, the Pirates have made adjustments while rebounding in typical Wheelersburg fashion.
The team showed its guts in an overtime win over Ashland Blazer (Ky.) in Week 3 and followed it up with a dominant showing against Greenup County (Ky.) in Week 4.
Earlier in the year, the Pirates switched quarterbacks and handed the keys to sophomore Aaron Masters, who seems to be driving the Pirates’ offense with relative ease.
Masters has thrown for 286 yards and four touchdowns in his two starts under center, giving the Pirates the aerial assault they were missing in their first two contests.
Wheelersburg is easily the most complete and formidable team Jackson will play this season. They’ll undoubtedly test just how good the Ironmen are.
The Pirates are used to being at the top of the standings in their region, but they currently sit at No. 6 in Division V, Region 19 with 6.05 points according to joeeitel.com … Wheelersburg hasn’t lost three games in a season since 2012 … In last week’s 38-7 win, Evan Horsley had 62 rushing yards while Matthews had 50 on just three carries.
JACKSON IRONMEN (4-0)
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- TJared Icenhower (QB), Jayden Spires (RB), Treylan Davis (TE)
The experience factor is heavily on the Ironmen’ side this time, and they needs to utilize every ounce of it for this one.
The running trio of Brice Graham, Jayden Spires and Mitchell Johnson have been dynamite for Jackson, scoring a total of 13 rushing touchdowns. That’s taken much of the pressure off the shoulders of quarterback Jared Icenhower.
However, Icenhower’s services will be needed. He has a wealth of weapons on the outside, including Treylan Davis, Tristan Prater and Nate Mcmanaway, to look towards for help.
Jackson’s defense has played well this year, allowing just 60 points all season (15 points per game). But it’ll need to create more chaos in the backfield this week.
The seniors will have to lead the way as this could be Jackson’s best chance to take down the Pirates. The Ironmen will have to exhaust every option possible.
In Division III, Region 11, Jackson currently sits at No. 7 with 7.22 points according to joeeitel.com … The Ironmen have outscored their opponents 138-60 this season … Jackson’s opponents this season have a combined record of 4-12.
BOTTOM LINE …
This game goes a long way in different ways for both teams.
For Jackson, it’s the game it’s been waiting on since the end of last season. A victory gives legitimacy to the team’s undefeated start and would be a huge piece on a playoff resume.
For Wheelersburg, it’s a much-needed resume piece as well, but a win would also help the team continue to grab momentum after the slow start. Not to mention, it would put the cherry on top for the Pirates’ senior class, who have never lost to the Ironmen.