Undefeated Jackson Prepares for Undefeated Wheelersburg

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There’s a budding rivalry in Southeast Ohio that pits two perennial powerhouses against each other for nothing more than bragging rights and a tally in the win column.
This season will mark the sixth consecutive year that the Frontier Athletic Conference power Jackson Ironmen will face the Wheelersburg Pirates in a non-conference match up of teams with aspirations of deep playoff runs.
Unfortunately for the Ironmen (4-0), the Pirates (4-0) have gotten the better of them in four of the last five season and done it in dominating fashion. Wheelersburg has won those four games by an average score of 38.8 to 12.
Jackson’s lone win came in 2014 when they shut out Wheelersburg 27-0.
The two squads will bring stellar defense to Jackson’s Alumni Stadium on Friday night. Both have given up a touchdown or less in three of their first four games and give up less than seven points a game on average. The defenses have also forced their fair share of turnovers during the first part of the season. Wheelersburg has tallied 9 takeaways and Jackson has gathered 8.
However, on the offensive side of the ball, the two teams differ.
Wheelersburg touts a potent aerial attack led by junior quarterback Trent Salyers. In the first four games, Salyers has racked up over 1100 passing yards and 12 touchdowns. Ten of those touchdowns have gone to his favorite target Tanner Holden, who already has an impressive 641 receiving yards on just 26 receptions.
Jackson will combat that with a strong running game. Senior running back Blake McCoy will have to continue his dominant start to the season for the Ironmen to keep pace with the Pirate passing attack. McCoy has rushed for 693 yards and seven touchdowns to lead a rushing attack that averages over 342 yards per contest. Brice Graham and Reid Evans also play a crucial part of that ground game, combining for 390 yards and seven touchdowns in just 37 carries.
Long drives behind McCoy and the run game and a strong defensive performance from the Iron Curtain will provide the chance the Ironmen need reverse recent history and finally come out on the winning end of this match up of Southeastern Ohio football stalwarts.