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Fighting Tigers dominate Ashland 64-6

ASHLAND, Ky.

Sunday, September 26, 1999

ASHLAND, Ky. – It was the Ironton-Ashland rivalry, and Fighting Tigers running back Jason Harmon got caught up in the hype.

Boy, did he ever.

Harmon was hyped running and receiving as he led Ironton to a 64-6 spanking of the Tomcats at Putnam Stadium. Harmon carried 10 times for 113 yards and caught three passes for 154 yards. He scored four of Ironton’s five touchdowns the first half.

"I was hyped. There’s no other way to say it except I was hyped," said Harmon. "This is a rivalry and we like to beat them. This is for bragging rights. Coach Lutz told us Ashland had a lot of players out, but he wanted us to play hard, try to get better, and beat them, and we did that."

The loss was the worst for Ashland in the series that dates back to 1919. It’s the most points scored by the winning team since Ashland won 84-0 in 1925. the 64 points were the most ever scored by an Ironton team against the Tomcats and gave the Fighting Tigers a 34-28-3 in the series.

"We knew they had a bunch of people hurt and some starters out, but we can’t be concerned with that. We have to take care of our team," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

"Anytime you have a situation like this, you have to guard against a letdown. On that first drive we did a lot of catching and watching and not much hitting. We straightened that out and after that we were pretty good. We threw some pretty good licks out there on offense and defense."

Ashland, 1-4, took the opening kickoff and marched methodically to the Ironton 5-yard line in 14 plays.

But Ironton held when Ryan Justice sacked Ashland quarterback Derek Cooksey for a 2-yard loss, and then Cooksey threw an incomplete pass to Josh Nichols on fourth down.

"We weren’t handling the bootleg and our defensive end play to the backside wasn’t very good on that first drive, but we did a little better as the game went on," said Lutz.

With the ball at the Ashland 19, Ironton went to work on an 81-yard drive. Harmon broke free for the final 31 yards and the touchdown to make it 6-0. The conversion kick failed.

Ashland went three-and-out on their next series and Ironton (4-1) exploded from that point by rolling up 29 points in the second stanza.

Harmon’s 5-yard scoring run ended a 65-yard touchdown drive. Harmon also ran for the conversion and it was 14-0.

Linebacker Redgie Arden recovered a fumble on Ashland’s first play following the kickoff at the 12-yard line. Quarterback Jimmy Peyton kept the ball on an option and scampered the distance and it was 21-0.

Forced to punt at midfield, Ashland shanked the kick and Ironton had the ball at its own 38. On third and 12, Peyton teamed up with Harmon on a 64-yard pass play and the lead grew to 28-0.

"Ironton’s the best team we’ll face this season. We knew we were outmanned coming in," Ashland coach Larry Hall said. "We get some of our players back next week and we’ll just try and get better and try to make a run at our district."

Ironton expanded its lead to 35-0 just before the half ended.

The Fighting Tigers used their timeouts wisely to make Ashland punt, and then Harmon ran back the kick 32 yards to the Ashland 43.

On the ensuing play, Peyton and Harmon hooked up again for the touchdown. Cooper’s conversion kick made it 35-0 with only two seconds left on the clock.

"Harmon’s an athlete. All the college coaches who look at him are impressed with his athleticism. He can cut well and he can do a lot of things for you offensively and defensively," Lutz said. "And Peyton threw a good ball. He didn’t have to throw much, but he threw well when he had to."

Peyton finished 3 of 4 for 154 yards and the two touchdowns.

Ironton’s first unit played one series the second half as the clock ran continuously.

A 47-yard pass from Peyton to Harmon put the ball at the 5 and fullback Michael Henry powered his way into the end zone as the lead went to 42-0.

B. J. Kerns got Ironton’s next touchdown as he burst up the middle and outran the Tomcats for a 50-yard touchdown run. Peyton bobbled the snap on the conversion, but threw to Arden for the two points and it was 50-0.

Ashland marched to the Ironton 12 only to fumble at the 6-yard line. On the next play, halfback Maurice Murphy slipped a couple of tackles and raced the distance for a 94-yard touchdown run and it was 57-0. Tommy Lutz kicked the point after.

Eddie Zeek recovered a fumble at the Ironton 43 and two plays later Tyler Scior bolted 45 yards for the touchdown. Tommy Lutz booted his second conversion and it was 64-0.

The Tomcats avoided the shutout when freshman quarterback Ryan Salyer ran 9 yards on a fourth down play. The conversion run failed.

Ashland had 94 yards the fourth quarter and 54 on the game’s first drive, but only 15 yards inbetween.