DeSales avoids Fighting Tigers upset bid, 21-14

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 21, 2002

It was only a few things, but they meant an awful lot.

In order for the Ironton Fighting Tigers to pull off an upset of the Columbus St. Francis DeSales Stallions Friday night, things would have to go right. But that didn't happen as a few mistakes costs Ironton in a big way as DeSales escaped with a 21-14 win at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

A punt that went unfielded rolled dead at the 1-yard line, thus hampering Ironton's offense. A few plays later Ironton was forced to punt and the short kick was returned to the Ironton 22.

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DeSales took advantage of its excellent field position to score the go-ahead touchdown and then used a big play at the goal line to halt a final Ironton rally.

"We let a punt roll dead at the one that we should have caught and run with," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "That put us in a darn hole to where they are in four down territory. That's a tough position to be in against a team as good as DeSales."

Ironton (6-2) found itself in a hole right out of the gate. On the first play of the game, DeSales quarterback Dino Razzano faked inside to the fullback running left, then kept the ball and turned up the field en route to a 71-yard touchdown run. The conversion kick hit the left upright and it was 6-0.

"They came out in a formation that we haven't seen, and our end bit on the fullback. We worked all week on avoiding that play," said Lutz.

After a drive to the Ironton 29 ended on a Jeff Pleasant interception, the Stallions (7-2) went up 14-0 with 3:57 left in the half as Razzano ran 4 yards for a touchdown to cap a 64-yard, eight-play drive. Razzano also ran for the conversion.

Held without a first down until its final possession of the half, Ironton came to life with a 77-yard, seven-play drive. An 18-yard run by Josh Sands, a 15-yard pass from Andrew Harvey to Sands, and a pair of penalties put Ironton at the DeSales 15. Matt White scored on a 3-yard run and A. J. Lutz's conversion kick got the Fighting Tigers within 14-7.

Ironton came out the second half and put together a 70-yard, 12-play scoring drive capped by White's 18-yard burst up the middle. Harvey hit A. J. McKnight with a clutch 17-yard pass on third-and-13 to keep the drive alive.

"I was supposed to run a flag but I broke it off to a square out," said McKnight who made a nifty leaping reception.

A 31-yard kickoff return by Chris Brown had DeSales starting at the 47-yard-line. Ironton held the Stallions on three downs, but a 44-yard punt hit and rolled until it came to a stop at the Ironton 1-yard l line.

Three running plays netted 6 yards and Ironton was forced to punt out of its end zone. A 13-yard return by Trevor Dickson to the Ironton 22 had DeSales in dangerous territory near the end of the quarter.

Four plays later, Razzano ran 8 yards for the touchdown and DeSales led 21-14.

The Fighting Tigers didn't wait long to respond. On the ensuing drive starting at its own 26, Ironton used 12 plays to move to the DeSales 7-yard line. But on fourth-and-3, a slant pass was picked off by DeSales' David Black at the goal line with 4:32 to play. The Stallions

then ran out the clock with an 11-play drive to the Ironton 23.

"When you play good teams, you have to make plays in the clutch. We just didn't make enough of them and they did. They're a heck of a ball club," said Lutz.

Razzano had 155 yards on 15 carries and completed 5-of-12 for 64 yards. Fullback Luther Henderson ran 24 times for 125 yards as DeSales rolled up 354 total yards, 276 the first half.

White had 95 yards on 23 carries and Sands 41 yards on 11 tries. The Fighting Tigers finished with 215 total yards, 134 on the ground. Harvey was 4-of-5 for 81 yards.

"It was a hard-fought battle. Both teams kind of ground it out at each other and we were able to hang in there at the end and get a nice defensive break at the goal line. I think that's what did it for us," DeSales coach Bob Jacoby said.

Ironton closes out the regular season next Friday against Belfry, Ky., with Senior Night. Ironton is needing a win keep its hopes alive for a home playoff game.



First Quarter

DeS -- Dino Razzano 71 run (kick failed) 11:441

Second Quarter

DeS -- Dino Razzano 4 run (Dino Razzano run) 3:57

Irn -- Matt White 3 run (A. J. Lutz kick)


Third Quarter

Irn -- Matt White 18 run (A. J. Lutz kick)


Fourth Quarter

DeS -- Dino Razzano 8 run (Jon Bednarek kick) 11:56



First downs1810


Passing yards6481

Total yards354215






Individual Leaders

RUSHING -- Col. DeSales: Dino Razzano 15-155, Luther Henderson 24-125, Chris Brown 2-10. Ironton: Matt White 23-95, Josh Sands 11-41, Jeff Pleasant 2-2, Andrew Harvey 2- minus 4.

PASSING -- DeSales: Dino Razzano 5-12-1

64. Ironton: Andrew Harvey 4-5-1

81, Josh Sands 0-1-1.

RECEIVING -- DeSales: Chris Smith 2-15, Trevor Dickson 1-7, Galen Powell 2-42. Ironton: Josh Sands 2-52, A. J. McKnight 1-17, Matt White 1-32.