Slow start doesn’t hold Wheelersburg back

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OBETZ, Ohio (WOUB) — Both No. 7 Wheelersburg and No. 3 Barnesville made the trip to Hamilton High School, were the Division five, Region 19 Semifinals were underway. The stadium was jam-packed, as plenty of fans from both sides seemed to have no issue with the drive.  

Barnesville received the ball on the opening drive with quarterback Casey Carpenter at the helm for the Shamrocks. The Barnesville offense put together a long drive on the ground and through the air into Pirate territory. The Shamrocks converted on a crucial fourth down inside of the Wheelersburg 15 yard line and running back Taison Starr handled the rest. He scored on a three-yard rush for the first score of the game.  

 The Pirates and the Shamrocks offense would both stall on the ensuing drives. It wouldn’t be until the next quarter that we’d see another score. Wheelersburg turned the momentum their way when they stopped a fourth and short inside the red zone to give their offense the ball. 

 Wheelersburg quarterback Braylon Rucker connected with Devon Lattimore for 26 yards to put them in scoring position. The next play, Rucker handed the ball off to Creed Warren who took it 15-yards to the house for a Pirates score. The score was tied at seven.  

 Another Wheelersburg defensive stand halted the Barnesville offense. The Pirates got the ball back with little time before half and Creed Warren gave them a little boost with a 58-yard run to put them in scoring position with the clock ticking. With time running out, Rucker threw it to the back of the end zone where Duker Castello intercepted it. Both teams headed to the locker room all tied up 7-7 at half. 

 After the break the Pirates offense came out cold and had a three and out drive that was riddled with penalties. The Shamrocks had a similar drive of their own when they punted after a three and out of their own. Creed Warren must’ve been tired of the offensive staleness because he took a handoff 83-yards into the end zone and was untouched the entire way. Wheelersburg up 14-7 at the end of the third quarter. 

 The Pirates offense sailed down the field in the fourth quarter and capped their drive off with a three-yard touchdown catch from their tight end Kolton Salyers. This touchdown would be 20 unanswered points from the Barnesville defense after a missed extra point.  

 Both teams would score once more in the fourth quarter to put the final score at 26-13 with Wheelersburg advancing to the Regional Finals. The Pirates send home the three seed and are slated to play Harvest Prep at a neutral site next Friday.  

Harvest Prep came into Wheelersburg and handed them a 32-16 loss earlier this season, so these two teams have some unfinished business to handle when they see each other again on the gridiron.