Blue Devils knock off Coal Grove, 42-20

By Alex Hawley -

COAL GROVE, Ohio — A tale of two halves.

The Gallia Academy football team led Ohio Valley Conference host Coal Grove by just two points at halftime of Friday’s Week 7 contest in Lawrence County, but the Blue Devils outscored the Hornets 28-to-8 in the second half to take the 42-20 victory.

The Blue Devils (6-1, 4-0 OVC) — who end a two-game skid in the head-to-head series with Coal Grove (4-3, 2-2) — broke the scoreless tie with 8:13 left in the first quarter, as James Armstrong scored on a four-yard run. Ben Cox ran in the two-point conversion for the guests, making the early advantage 8-0.

The Hornets cut their deficit to two points with 4:54 left in the first, as Nate Harmon broke a 44-yard touchdown run and the Blue Devils stuffed the two-point conversion try.

Gallia Academy’s advantage was back to eight points with 6:01 left in the half, as Jacob Campbell scored from one yard out. However, Coal Grove was in the end zone less than two minutes later, as Evan Holmes caught an 18-yard scoring pass from Harmon. GAHS again stuffed the two-point try and, after a lightening delay, went into the half with a 14-12 lead.

After the break, the Blue Devils began adding on to their lead, first when Justin McClelland scored on a seven-yard run at the 9:32 mark. Andrew Toler made his first of two second half point-after kicks, giving the guests a 21-12 edge.

Gallia Academy’s advantage hit double digits with 6:01 left in the third period, as Lane Pullins scored on a nine-yard run. McClelland ran in the two-point conversion, making the margin 29-12.

Coal Grove’s only second half score came with 12 seconds to go in the third, when Harmon found Aaron Music for a four-yard scoring pass. The duo hooked up again on the two-point conversion, trimming the GAHS lead back to single digits at 29-20.

The Blue Devils gained some breathing room 1:32 into the fourth quarter, as Campbell found paydirt for a second time, this time from 12 yards out. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, however, keeping it a two-score game with the Blue and White ahead 35-20.

Gallia Academy capped off the 22-point win with 4:19 to go, as Jacob Hill took his only carry of the game to the end zone from five yards out, and Toler hit the point-after kick.

In the win, GAHS held a 24-to-10 advantage in first downs, and a 344-to-298 edge in total offense. Gallia Academy carried the ball 52 times for 262 yards, while the hosts ran 37 times for 153. Both teams completed eight passes, but the Blue Devils were picked off twice.

Gallia Academy punted once, two fewer times than CGHS. The guests drew just one flag for 10 yards, while Coal Grove was penalized five times for 35 yards.

Pullins led the GAHS rushing attack with 86 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. McClelland — who was 8-of-12 passing for 82 yards — was next on the ground for the Blue Devils with 85 yards and a touchdown over 19 carries, while Campbell added 56 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16 tries.

Armstrong ran three times for 30 yards and one score, and caught two passes for 19 yards, while Cade Roberts hauled in a game-best six passes for 63 yards.

Harmon — Coal Grove’s leading rusher with 69 yards and a score over 13 carries — was 8-of-13 passing for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Holmes was the team’s leading pass catcher, posting three receptions, 72 yards and one touchdown.

The Blue Devils will put their four-game winning streak on the line as they return to Memorial Field in Gallipolis to host 2-5 Rock Hill in Week 8 OVC action.

By Alex Hawley

Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.

Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.