Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
With conference play in full swing across Southern Ohio’s landscape this week, multiple teams learned new lessons about themselves, an overtime thriller took place in Minford, and playoff contenders further separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
With only four weeks left in the regular season — I can’t believe it either — the playoff race will only heat up, conference title implications will be sketched in bold lettering, and we, as fans, get to watch it all unfold.
Taking that into consideration, here’s a look at this week’s Sunday Morning QB.
Week 6 Takeaways
A. Minford-Wheelersburg. You knew we were going to discuss it. What an absolute barnburner the Pirates and Falcons played this past Friday. In a playoff-like atmosphere, our “Game of the Week” more than lived up to its billing. In the end, with a 21-20 overtime victory, the Pirates put themselves right in the thick of a playoff hunt. So what’s the takeaway here? Well, Wheelersburg is alive and well … for all of those who doubted coach Rob Woodward’s crew. While this team may not be your brother’s version of the Pirates we’re used to seeing, give it time. The trio of Evan Horsley, Makya Matthews and Hunter Ruby bring leadership to the team, Woodward is obviously an elite coach, and the Pirates are the most battle-tested team in the region. If you disagree, look at the schedule they’ve played. With Oak Hill, Waverly, Valley and West left on the schedule, Wheelersburg will have plenty of chances to further prove itself against teams who are a combined 14-10.
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PHOTOS: Images from Wheelersburg’s overtime win at Minford … Images from Adena’s 36-20 win over Westfall … Images from Unioto’s rout of Zane Trace … Images from Southeastern’s 54-34 victory over Piketon
B. There’s a reason Adena is 5-1 and it isn’t just quarterback Preston Sykes. While Sykes has been phenomenal this season, he’s surrounded with a boatload of talent including, but not limited to, Logan Bennett, Dalton Metzger, Carson Long and Nate Throckmorton. The Warriors have went through a gauntlet to begin their Scioto Valley Conference slate. They’ve already played Paint Valley, Unioto and Westfall and now have Piketon, Huntington and Zane Trace sitting in front of them. That leaves undefeated Southeastern in Week 10 … a game that could possibly decide the SVC title. The Panthers still have to play Unioto and Paint Valley in Week 8 and 9. But if they don’t get knocked off by either, we should see 9-0 vs. 8-1 in Week 10.
C. The Frontier Athletic Conference title, a home playoff date and an undefeated season is Jackson’s to lose. The Ironmen, at 6-0, pounded McClain by a 59-3 final this week. Simply put, in the FAC, Jackson shouldn’t have any problems running the table. That’s not to say Washington, Hillsboro or Miami Trace won’t play the Ironmen close. All three are capable of pulling off an upset should Jackson start to look ahead and lose focus. But with what’s transpired in recent weeks, Jackson is far and away the best team in not only the conference, but in SOSA’s coverage area. This week’s 56-point win only reinforced that point.
Waverly’s Payton Shoemaker is still at it. The senior rushed for 217 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries in a 37-7 win over West. Shoemaker has now passed the 1,300-yard mark and has four games left.
Unioto’s Jamarcus Carroll was crowned Homecoming King before Friday’s 50-6 win over Zane Trace. He then went out and defended the throne with 200 rushing yards and three scores on 13 carries.
In a 38-7 rout of Chillicothe, Washington quarterback Ethan Rogers-Wright completed 15-of-25 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He hooked up with Eli Lynch six times for 60 yards and both scores.
In the overtime win over Minford, Wheelersburg’s Makya Matthews did a little bit of everything, rushing for 133 yards on 24 carries and logging 73 receiving yards on two receptions. He also found the end zone twice.
Portsmouth’s Talyn Parker became the Trojans’ all-time leading rusher in a 28-13 win over Coal Grove. Parker rushed for 112 yards on 12 carries, putting his career total at 5,626 rushing yards. The previous record holder? Talyn’s father Jo-Jo, who set the mark in the early 2000’s.
One Final Thought
Over the next three weeks, well, I’m going to have a lot of fun. The slate of games to cover is as juicy as they’ll ever be in the regular season. Next week, Paint Valley travels to Unioto and the week after, Waverly goes to Wheelersburg. The Tigers then host Minford in Week 9 and, in Week 10 like we already discussed, it’s Southeastern at Adena. If you’re looking for good football, your next four Fridays should be booked and paid for.
- Jackson (6-0) … 2. Wheelersburg (3-3) … 3. Minford (5-1) … 4. Waverly (5-1) … 5. Southeastern (6-0) … 6. Paint Valley (5-1) … 6. Adena (5-1) … 7. Unioto (4-2) … 8. Washington (4-2) … 9. Oak Hill (3-3) … 10. Valley (4-2)