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DeTermined Ironton DeFeats DeSales

Big game.

Saturday, October 28, 2000

Big game. Big plays. Big win. All those things described the Ironton Fighting Tigers thrilling 28-21 win over the Columbus St. Francis DeSales Stallions Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

Oh yeah, add one more "big" thing: Ironton’s offensive line.

A big key in the win was the blocking of Ironton’s big offensive line Mark Gleichauf, Eli Dalton, Kyle Hankins, Chad Parker, Roman Fry, Erique Bacon, Mark Mains, and Redgie Arden that helped produce 365 rushing yards and 454 total yards.

"They dominated the line of scrimmage," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "We handled them up front and (Tyler) Scior and (Maurice) Murphy hit the holes hard and quick."

Stallions coach Bob Jacoby was in agreement. He said Ironton’s line was the reason DeSales lost to Ironton for the first time in six meetings.

"That was the difference. We have trouble with bigger offensive lines," Jacoby said. "We’ve got no excuses. They were better than us. They just beat us."

Gleichauf, a 6-foot, 240-pound senior guard, said the team had plenty of motivation for the game, and it was that motivation that helped Ironton finish the season 8-1 and probably second in the Region 15 Division IV computer ratings.

"They were strong and quick and aggressive. We were just ready to play and we played hard," Gleichauf said. "But we were playing at home and in what could be the last time at home and it was senior night, and we’ve never beaten them before. We had a lot going for us."

Ironton also had running backs Tyler Scior and Maurice Murphy going for them, and going far.

Scior had 19 carries for a career-high 188 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Murphy ran nine times for 98 yards.

And speaking of big, DeSales senior quarterback Tony Borghese had his second straight big game at Ironton. Borghese, who ran for 120 yards and threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns last year, led the Stallions with 89 yards rushing on 12 carries and completed 14-of-23 passes for 229 yards.

He engineered a drive to the Ironton 9 with less than two minutes to play, but the drive stalled and Ironton ran out the clock.

"Their quarterback is a player. He made some big plays. He made it a heck of a game," Lutz said.

Ironton set the tone for the game early.

After holding DeSales to four plays on its first possession and forcing a punt, Josh Harmon returned the kick 11 yards to midfield.

Fullback Matt Kelly, who had 43 yards on 16 carries, picked up a yard on the first play, then Harmon threw a reverse pass to a wide-open Chris Frazer for a 49-yard touchdown pass. Tommy Lutz kicked the point after and it was 7-0.

The Stallions answered with an 80-yard, 11-play scoring drive capped by Jeremiah Franz’ 1-yard scoring run. Richie McNally kicked the point after to tie the game.

Ironton used an eight-play, all-ground attack drive for its next touchdown with Scior ripping off runs of 19, 27, and 17 to get the ball to the 1-yard line where quarterback Drew Mains did the honors and it was 21-7 with 1:29 left in the half.

There was still time for DeSales to respond, and that’s just what the Stallions did.

A 66-yard pass from Borghese to wide receiver Nathan Hazel got the ball to the Ironton 8, and two plays later Jeff Acree scored from a yard out and it was 21-14 with 34 seconds left in the half.

"We had a guy right there on the long pass , but he goes for the interception and lets the ball go through his arms. If he just knocks the ball down, I doubt they score."

The Fighting Tigers threatened to extend their lead to begin the second half with a 70-yard drive to the DeSales 8. A penalty moved the ball back to the 13 and and a sack put the ball at the 22 when Tommy Lutz was short on a 39-yard field goal attempt.

DeSales took advantage of the misfire by the Ironton offense to march 80 yards behind the running and passing of Borghese. He hit Kevin Hazel for 10 yards and McNally for 14, then ran for 13 and 15 yards to the Ironton 42. A facemask penalty moved the ball to the 17, and two plays later Borghese scored from 7 yards out and it was 21-21 with 38 seconds left in the quarter.

A clipping penalty against Ironton on the kickoff return put the ball back at the 8-yard line, but Ironton was undaunted as it mounted a 92-yard, 14-play drive capped by Scior’s 15-yard touchdown run with 5:45 to play and it as 28-21.

Ironton did not have a third down play in the drive with the exception of the touchdown run.

Borghese started to rally the Stallions with two straight pass completions, but Harmon’s interception at the Ironton 43 halted the drive.

Unable to move the ball, Josh Sands got off a 36-yard punt to the 20 where the Stallions began their final scoring threat.

Borghese completed 3-of-7 passes and scrambled for 14 more yards as DeSales reached the Ironton 14. Two more passes were incomplete and a third down pass went to Mike Love at the 9. On fourth down, Arden’s pass rush hurried Borghese who failed to hit Love in the middle of the end zone and Ironton took over on downs.

Murphy ran for 14 yards, Scior for 4, and Murphy for 38 more to the DeSales 35 where Drew Mains took a knee as the clock ticked down to zero.