Wheelersburg Pirates dominate Ironton Tigers

WHEELERSBURG — “The Burg” is still the word when talking about the Wheelersburg Pirates and Ironton Fighting Tigers rivalry in football, as the defending SOC II champion Pirates dominated the Fighting Tigers 49-6 in their season-opening game.

“This was just an outstanding job by our coaching staff and our kids in terms of the execution of the game plan out here on the field,” Wheelersburg football coach Rob Woodward said immediately after the Pirates opened their season with a 43-point victory over the Fighting Tigers. “That was one of the best executed game plans in the first half that I can remember as a coach, in terms of being here, as an assistant or as a head coach.”

While the Pirates executed their game plan to near perfection in the first half, Ironton helped Wheelersburg out far more than they ever wanted to. The Tigers struggled to get going in the game Friday night, getting called for four-straight penalties to start the contest.

Ironton’s struggles continued all throughout the first half, which saw the Tigers never cross the 50-yard line, being held in their own territory the entirety of the first two quarters.

“You put in all that time and you have so many unknowns, but you trust people and you ask them to step up in the moment and they did that tonight,” Woodward said.

Wheelersburg’s offense rolled all over the turf at Ed Miller Stadium in Wheelersburg. The Pirates had six possessions in the first half and found the endzone every drive.

The duo quarterback attack by Mack Dyer and Cole Lowery of Wheelersburg kept the Ironton defense guessing throughout the first half. The two juniors were involved in all seven Wheelersburg touchdowns.

Dyer threw for five touchdowns, connecting with Tanner Bivens twice, as well as Tanner Holden twice and one final passing score to Taylor Doerr.

Lowery also found Doerr on a scoring pass, which was good for 44 yards.

The only rushing touchdown for Wheelersburg came by way of a 13-yard scoring run by Dyer. It was the final score of the game for the Pirates.

After realizing his team defeated the defending OVC Champions to open the season, Woodward said he was speechless.

“That’s something you don’t really prepare for in a game like this (margin of victory),” Woodward said after collecting his thoughts. “We had some miscues there at the end. I’m not one to make excuses. I want to be as clean as we can and of course our guys were excited.

“Big plays tonight and great job by both sides of the ball.”

One of the mistakes made in the twilight of the game was a 71-yard run given up by the Pirates defense, by Ironton’s Ethan Duncan. Duncan’s run set up the only Ironton score, a 2-yard run by Tanner Wilson.

Both the Tigers and Pirates will play on the road during the second week of the season. Ironton will travel to Russell, Kentucky for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Wheelersburg will travel to Fairland to face the Dragons, which is set to start at 7 p.m. Both games will take place Friday, September 2, 2016.

Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext. 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.


Rock Hill Redmen ground Minford Falcons

Daily Times Minford played against Rock Hill for the first game of the season Friday night.

MINFORD — Eager Falcons fans filled the stadium Friday evening in anticipation for the first game of the year against the Rock Hill Redmen. New Head Coach Jesse Ruby and his squad took the field to receive the first kick off of the season.

Then the trouble started. The Falcons mishandled the kick, which gave Rock Hill a great starting field position at the 29 yard-line. The Redmen took advantage, grinding down the shortened field to finish the drive with a 1-yard touchdown rush by Trystan Matney.

Minford answered back on the next drive. Tyler Compton, who led the charge much of the night for Minford, finished off the possession with a 17-yard running touchdown. He finished the game with a total of 108 rushing yards on the evening.

Rock Hill took advantage of two more turnovers in the first half. The Falcons fumbled a punt and had a Tyler McCormick pass picked off. All three turnovers resulted in points the other way for the Redmen.

“It came down to our mistakes early,” said Ruby. “Our mistakes turned into early points for them. We were down and they were just able to run the ball a ton after that.”

His words were true, considering Rock Hill rushed every offensive play besides two. Matney went on a tear, rushing for 161 yards on 19 carries with 4 touchdowns. Brady Knipp chipped in as well with 86 yards on the ground for Rock Hill.

“Matney ran really hard tonight,” said Ruby. “They do a lot of deceptive things. You make a mistake here and there and that really increases the yards at the end of a carry. Matney is a big back who runs hard. We were trying to arm tackle him and that just won’t work on a runner like that.”

The bright side for Minford was found in the passing game. Aside from the lone interception, Tyler McCormick went 11-for-18 with 102 yards.

“Passing was the game plan for us,” said Ruby. “Early on the running game was working so well I tried to keep sticking with it. In the second half we let Tyler open it up to try to get us back in the ball game.”

Ruby also pointed out the need to develop a second running back in the coming weeks.

“Compton ran really well for us. But we had some injuries and with the heat we were really trying to rotate backs. Tyler had the hot hand so we kept feeding him the ball.”

Ruby promised Dylan Shepard will see more snaps in the backfield in coming weeks. He had 17 yards on three carries, with a single reception for a 25-yard gain.

Minford will try to regroup next week when they host the defending SOC I Champions, the Oak Hill Oaks. Last year, the Falcons came out on top by a score of 29-15.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 Final
Rock Hill 14 6 13 0 33
Minford 7 0 0 7 14

Individual Stats

Rushing- Minford: Compton 20-108, Shepard 3-17,Caudill 4-10,Gaines 2-3; Rock Hill: Matney 19-161, Knipp 15-86, Darby 4-33, T. Adkins 4-32, Z. Adkins 3-4

Passing- Minford: McCormick 11/18-102; Rock Hill: Darby 1/2- 22

Receiving- Minford: Shepard 1-25, Bowen 2-23, Muck 3-20, Tilley 2-14, Spradlin 1-10,Thouroghman 1-10, Compton 1-5; Rock Hill: Shope 1-22

Reach Derrick Parker at dcparker@live.com or on twitter @DC__Parker

East Tartans tackle South Gallia Rebels, 49-16

Portsmouth East took on South Gallia Friday in the opening game of the season.

SCIOTOVILLE — The East Tartans celebrated a proud night Friday after starting the season with a well earned 49-16 victory over the South Gallia Rebels.

Throughout the game, the Tartans played hard both offensively and defensively, showing off several talented players that rival teams may want to keep an eye on.

“I was just really, really happy for the guys’ effort,” East Head Coach James Gifford praised. “They wanted to come out and make a statement and they did.”

Coach Gifford couldn’t be more accurate. Every member of the team played as if they had something to prove.

Leading the Tartans to victory were several hometown favorites such as Akia Brown, Drew Lowe and Ethan Gifford. Brown scored five touchdowns both receiving and rushing, as well as 102 yards. The Tartans completed 7 of 13 passes for 151 yards, all of which were completed by Lowe.

Gifford had three catches for 79 yards.

Still, no one expected two defensive touchdowns to come out of freshman Braiden Haney who showed the Rebels that he is a threat. If Haney continues the season as he played Friday, East may have a new star player.

Though proud, the Tartans stayed humble throughout the game and after.

“It was a great effort from everybody,” Lowe commented as he celebrated with his teammates. “Defense definitely stepped up huge for us.”

Lowe went on to say that the Tartans have been hungry to play and win for months.

“We put in hard work all summer,” Lowe said.

But he was not just proud of the win.

“This is what we talked about all week,” he stated. “What we talk about is a great attitude and effort.”

The East Tartans had nine first downs, 178 rushing yards in 21 attempts, 7 of 13 completed passes for 151 yards and recovered two fumbles. Though the first quarter ended with neither team scoring, East had a clear 36-0 lead by halftime.

South Gallia did not bring their offensive game until the last quarter, fighting the Tartans for two touchdowns.

Next week the East Tartans will take their hunger away to Fisher Catholic.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101, ext.1924

#KayarathsAdventures-In More Zenkaikon by @918thefan and @Kayarath


As I looked upon the Lancaster Convention Center, a big grin appeared on my face. To put it simply, I needed this! It’s been too long since I could just enjoy a convention. Now I have the chance to enjoy Zenkaikon. Zenkaikon is an April convention that takes place in Lancaster county, which is in the same corner as Philadelphia.

While Zenkaikon is the first convention I did attend this year, it is not the first convention I could have attended this year. Kotoricon is cool, but I would have nothing to report on there. I heard Magfest is awesome. Awesome enough to attract other staff from The Fan, but I couldn’t grab a hotel roommate to make it affordable. Ponycon is intriguing, but I was quite sick during most of February. That would also cross Katsucon off the list. There are also at least a few cons that flew under my radar.

By the time Zenkaikon rolled around, I was physically and emotionally ready for it. My anticipation for Zenkaikon was due to how… chill it was. A guest cancels at the last moment? It’s cool. A V.A. gotta work and there are plenty of other guests to see. My press pass didn’t come in? No worries, they know I’m good so I know they’re good, right? Okay, I did get worried and made an inquiry. Turns out I was approved and they didn’t send me a notification because my application was late. I knew I had nothing to worry about! Sorry Zenkaikon. Sending it in six or more months in advanced feels creepy so you end up going to the other extreme and apply at the last-minute. I’ll try to find a better timing in the future.

Zenkaikon is brought to you by the hard work of this lot.

With that potential disaster unpotentialed, I quickly grabbed my badge and just… chilled. The city of Lancaster has such a nice downtown area with a “Main Street” vibe. For those willing to do a little searching, you can find some interesting secret areas full of personality. The Lancaster Convention Center always had cold water and clean bathrooms just a few steps away. You don’t appreciate something until you really need it. Zenkaikon, as always, will even validate your parking! This is all standard protocol as this point but I feel it’s worth repeating.

While I did largely chill, I did make a point to attend a few panels. For example, Uncle Yo! Who he’s an uncle to is a mystery to me but he was there. While the geek comedian is now a mainstay of the Mid Atlantic convention scene, Zenkaikon will always be his home convention. The home field advantage must have been in play because his routine was particularly sharp that day. I certainly enjoyed it.

Since it was his hometown con, Uncle Yo was also a co-host for Cosplay Burlesque.For those not in the know, Cosplay Burlesque is like a Cosplay Masquerade except they take the cosplay off. This group of performers are also a mainstay of the Mid Atlantic convention scene. Normally, I don’t get to see them at Zenkaikon due to room capacity getting filled. This year they finally fixed that by putting them in Main Events. These people know how to execute an established formula to please a crowd (unlike Keji Inafune). Even Uncle Yo got into the act! If you ever wanted to see Uncle Yo strip, Zenkaikon 2016 was your chance. My only criticism is in the overuse of Kylo Ren. I know The Force Awakens is the new hotness but three scenes with the same character is starting to overdo it.

Everyone loves Vic Mignogna!

The usual suspects are always fun to see but Zenkaikon does not stop there. Being part sci-fi, they like to draw outside the regular anime voice actor pool. In years past; they got John de Lancie and Jim Cummings. This year they got Dante Basco. Okay, I’m not sure if he counts as outside the stable of anime voice actors, but he’s still a cool guy. He was freakin’ Prince Zuko for cryin’ out loud! I went to his panel and he’s just so chill. By listening to him, you’ll learn that he’s just like anyone else. He fanboys over Mark Hamill, plays League of Legends, and hates Teemo just like everyone else (though I’ll never understand the last one). He even agreed to do the Guests Against Humanity panel; which I missed. That panel was not held in Main Events but in a smaller panel that got filled up before I got there. You win some, you lose some.

I missed a lot of things to be honest. Richard Epcar and Ellyn Stern were both guests and I saw them about as much as your Overwatch teammates see the objective. I did manage to get within meters of Vic Mignogna but that was it. He goes to so many cons I know I’ll see him sooner or later (like at Anime FanFest). Most of the panels didn’t catch my eye andthe video game section couldn’t hold my attention for long. I did try to get into an Artemis game but found that all the slots were filled up. I’m actually not very salty about that because that means more people can experience it. I found myself at the tabletop area more often than not.

I find myself put off by that decision. I can play all the tabletop gaming I want at my Friendly Local Gaming Store so why would I spend my con time playing more tabletopgames? For one, Zenkaikon has always done tabletop gaming well. It has its own room with a good game library in an accessible location. I can also play games that I don’t normally haveaccess too. I could actually rope people into playing Barbarosa or Machi Kuro. Expect a full review of Barbarosa in the future a mini review of Machi Kuro right now. While I only played a few casual games, I can see it’s appeal. Machi Kuro feels like Settlers of Catan with less trading and more game mechanics. Channel A was also seeing some play. It does become unwieldy once you go beyond four players; especially when everyone is named Bruce. I don’t know how that started; I just went with it. I even played Ticket to Ride! Playing Ticket to Ride is sort of like watching DragonBall Z reruns. While I may scoff at how unsophisticated it is; sometimes simple and fun is exactly what you need.

The family that cosplays together stays together!

I spent a large majority of my time just chilling. Walk around, take a few cosplay pics, and then walk around some more. It was all just chill; even with the traffic lanes. You see, when they were taking seating for the Cosplay Masquerade, the line has to move across the hall into the theater. However, this being a convention, the hall was filled with people moving through it. We were about to cross the streams when a staffer stepped in and directed traffic like a four-way street light. Everyone politely waited their turns and got to their destinations without incident. I personally found the whole ordeal hilarious. It also got me thinking…

How could it get so crowded with only three thousand people? Let me check the Zenkaikon attendance numbers. Three thousand people attended the 2013 convention. It jumped to four thousand at 2014, five thousand (or so) at 2015, and well above five thousand for this year. So that means Zenkaikon grew sixty percent over four years. That is both surprising and insane. How did it grow so fast? By being a great convention.

You should have been to the feedback session this year. Most of the time people bring up concerns, generic praise, or just rip into the con chair on occasion. Zenkaikon was all praise; and enthusiastic praise at that. Everyone was literally gushing at each other. “Oh you’re the best convention ever Zenkaikon!” “Well that’s because your the best convention attendees ever!” “It’s so family friendly here!” It was as if all our positive thoughts converged into a hivemind of self-congratulations. Is this what’s it like to be a Homestuck fan?

While success is sweet doesn’t it bring up a few issues? Foremost, won’t Zenkaikon out grow the Lancaster Convention Center in a few years? What do we do when that happens? Cap attendance like Koritcon? Endure the endless lines of Otakon? Move to a new city like AnimeNEXT? Each choice has its own perils and Zenkaikon must be prepared for whatever decision is makes; but it won’t be alone. Their feedback survey did ask for input on the subject so they are aware of the situation at the very least. It’s a problem they’ll have to chew on for a while but isn’t that the type of problem you want your convention to be having? I think so.