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Ironton burns Blue Devils

GALLIPOLIS – Regardless of what the pregame music might have been, the Ironton Fighting Tigers were hearing Oliva Newton-John singing "Let’s Get Physical.

Saturday, September 11, 1999

GALLIPOLIS – Regardless of what the pregame music might have been, the Ironton Fighting Tigers were hearing Oliva Newton-John singing "Let’s Get Physical."

There was nothing fancy or any finesse about Ironton power running game that marched past the Gallipolis Blue Devils 44-6 Friday night.

Ironton, 2-1, got off to a sluggish start despite moving the ball up and down the field and leading just 10-6 at the half.

But the constant pounding of the physical running game plus some punishing hits by linebacker Redgie Arden sparked a second half domination.

"We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times the first half," said Ironton coach Bob Lutz. "The second half we just came out and drove it right down the field a couple of times and wore them out. We didn’t do anything fancy. We just lined up and ran right at them."

Fullback Michael Henry got physical with the Blue Devils defense as he rush 19 times for a season-high 124 yards and scored twice. Halfback Jason Harmon had 71 yards on 16 tries while B. J. Kerns added 65 yards on 10 carries.

Quarterback Jimmy Peyton had a second straight big game with 128 yards passing as he connected on 6 of 8 attempts.

Arden caught two key passes for 58 yards as Peyton hooked up with five different receivers.

"Peyton threw the ball well and he did what we need to do in spreading it around. And Redgie had a couple of nice catches to keep scoring drives going," said Lutz.

Gallipolis, 2-1, took the opening kickoff and reached the Ironton 11 where Jeremy Payton was forced to kick a 28-yard field goal.

The Fighting Tigers drove to the Blue Devils 30 only to come up inches short of a first down.

On their next possession, the Fighting Tigers used big runs by Harmon and Kerns to reach the Gallipolis 21. Again the drive stalled, but this time Clark Cooper drilled a 36-yard field goal to tie the game with 9:15 left in the half.

The Blue Devils answered with their second and final scoring drive of the game, a 31-yard field goal by Payton that came when Ironton’s defense halted the march with a fourth and 12 at the 14-yard line.

Down 6-3, Ironton put its offense in high-speed motion by going 61 yards in eight plays and utilizing three and one-half minutes. Henry’s 1-yard run with four seconds on the clock and Cooper’s conversion kick made it 10-6.

Payton’s second half kickoff went into the end zone, so Ironton drove 80 yards in eight plays capped by Henry’s second 1-yard touchdown run to make it 16-6. The key play in the drive was a 42-yard pass from Peyton to Erique Bacon to the Blue Devils 16-yard line.

Ironton started a scoring drive at the end of the third quarter that spilled over into the fourth quarter. Peyton’s 1-yard touchdown run came with 9:12 left and the lead was 23-6.

The defense forced a punt and Ironton had the ball at the 47. Two runs by Henry gained 17, Peyton hit Arden for 30 yards, and then Peyton kept the ball and ran 11 yards for the touchdown with 6:38 to play. Cooper’s kick stretched the lead to 30-6.

"We played better the second half, but we’ve got a long way to go. We’re still not doing things right fundamentally," said Lutz.

Gallipolis went three-and-out on its next series and Ironton’s second team drove 51 yards on seven plays with Kerns getting the touchdown on a 1-yard run. Tommy Lutz kicked the point after and it was 37-6.

Ironton’s final touchdown came on a 40-yard fumble return by Tyler Scior with 24 seconds to go. Tommy Lutz tacked on the final point.

Ironton hosts Dayton Belmont at 7:30 p.m. next Friday