Wheelersburg Claims D-5 Football State Title

CANTON, Ohio- Wheelersburg (15-0) scored a touchdown with 0:17 left in regulation to force overtime where the Pirates went on to defeat Pemberville Eastwood (14-1) 21-14 in the Division V state championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Friday. It marks the school’s second football state championship and first since 1989.

The first points of the game came as the first half was coming to an end. Junior running back Ceyleon Damron had a six-yard touchdown for Eastwood, but the extra-point kick failed with 3:45 left before halftime. Shortly after, Wheelersburg junior quarterback Trent Salyers scored on a two-yard touchdown run with 0:42 left in the first half to put the Pirates up 7-6 at the half.

After a scoreless third quarter, Eastwood junior Jaden Rayford scored on a four-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left in the game. Senior Zach Henline caught a pass from senior Jake Pickerel for a two-point conversion and the Eagles led 14-7.

With 0:17 remaining in the game, Wheelersburg sophomore Makya Matthews scored on a 12-yard pass from Salyers to tie the game at 14-14 and force overtime.

In overtime, Wheelersburg scored on an 11-yard jump pass from running back Xander Charmichael. Eastwood fumbled on the second play of its overtime possession, with Wheelersburg junior Avery Donini forcing the fumble and senior Cole Lowery recovering it to seal the state title win for Wheelersburg.

“The thing that astounds me so much about this football team is from Week 1, the senior leadership these gentlemen have had,” Wheelersburg coach Rob Woodward said. “They’ve never allowed anything to stray them off course.”

First team All-Ohio junior Trent Salyers led the Pirates with 179 passing yards on 17-of-29 attempts. 

Eastwood was making its first state championship game appearance in school history. Rayford led the Eagles with 136 rushing yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.

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