[Hailey Hollinger | WOUB]

Wheelersburg gets its revenge with playoff victory over Ridgewood

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ohio (WOUB) — After losing to the Ridgewood Generals in the playoffs for the past two seasons, the Wheelersburg Pirates finally got their vengeance in a tough comeback victory.

It was a cold evening at Ridgewood highschool, as the Pirates came into the quarterfinal locked in to right their wrongs in years past.

“I got texts from last year’s classes saying ‘coach, get us some redemption,’” said Wheelersburg head coach Rob Woodward. “I told the kids to focus on winning this game.”

Early on both Ridgewood and Wheelersburg utilized their rushing attack, which did not result in many points. The Pirates still found a bit of success, getting in range for Braxton Sammons to put them up three at the end of the first quarter.

Quarterback Gabe Tingle got Ridgewood’s offense kicking in high gear, driving them down the field resulting in Dalton Patterson taking the sweep 13 yards for the touchdown.

Wheelersburg’s offense has been known as a primarily rushing offense, but they always take a shot catching defenses off guard, and they did so again in this game with Eli Jones connecting with Josh Clark on a 46-yard bomb to put the Pirates back on top 10-7.

Late in the first half, Kigenn Millender bursted for a 75 yard run being caught inside the Wheelersburg five yard-line, with the Generals punching it in for six. The missed extra point resulted in Ridgewood taking a 13-10 lead at halftime, the same final score as last year’s playoff result.

Mid-way through the third quarter, star quarterback Gabe Tingle injured his ankle. He would not return, but the Ridgewood offense adjusted well, switching from a spread offense to the wing-T.

That adjustment reaped benefits for the Generals as Brock Brumfield rushed for his second red zone touchdown of the night, putting Ridgewood up ten points with less than five minutes left in the third quarter.

It was starting to look like Ridgewood would make it three straight wins meeting Wheelersburg in the playoffs, but the coaching staff made some adjustments to help turn the tide.

The normally rush-heavy Pirates offense began to run more pass plays, with Eli Jones recording a season-high nine completions and 145 yards in the air.

With two minutes left in the third, Jones connected with Josh Clark for his second touchdown of the game, this time for 40 yards, cutting the lead to 20-17.

The momentum shifted in Wheelersburg’s favor, as they quickly scored again early in the fourth quarter, with Ethan Glover breaking free to score a 39-yard touchdown to put the Pirates up four.

Ridgewood struggled to find a response with Tingle still out with his injury. On their final drive with a minute to go, Tingle returned to play on a 4th-and-17 to keep the Generals hopes alive.

Tingle took the shotgun snap and dropped back to pass while hopping on one leg, but he still found Braden Maleski for a large gain. After the referees brough the chains out, they marked the ball inches short, securing Wheelersburg’s victory.

“They had so much fun in practice, and [with] the work ethic they put in, they won the game,” said Rob Woodward. “They came out, finished it, and did what we needed them to do.”

With the win, the Pirates advanced to the regional semifinals, making them one of the last 16 teams in Ohio’s division V. Number one seed Ironton awaits them in the next round, a team that defeated them 40-6 week one of this season.

The game will take place at the Portsmouth Trojans Coliseum on Saturday.