Ironton steps by Trojans

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 14, 2003

The Ironton Fighting Tigers took a big step.

Before Friday's game against the rival Portsmouth Trojans, Ironton coach Bob Lutz said the Fighting Tigers could be a good team, but they needed to take another step forward.

And after losing the last three meetings against Portsmouth, that step was going to be about as difficult as a 10-month old baby learning to walk.

Email newsletter signup

But Ironton took that step forward with a 24-12 win over Portsmouth at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

"We can be a good team, but we're not there yet. We made a big move toward that tonight. Portsmouth has had our number the last two years, so this was big for our confidence," Lutz said.

It was Ironton's relentless ground game and big plays that kept the Fighting Tigers unbeaten in four games and handed Portsmouth its second straight loss after opening with a pair of wins.

Halfback Marcus Williams rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries - his first career 100-yard rushing game - as Ironton ran 45 times for 219 yards. Fullback Jarod Murphy added 76 yards on 22 carries and had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs.

"We found some things that worked and we stuck with them. Williams ran well and he ran hard," Lutz said.

Portsmouth tried to use a short-range passing game to establish ball control and was effective early.

The Trojans took the opening kickoff and drove 69 yards in 11 plays to score on Tyler Clifford's 1-yard run and it was 6-0. Quarterback J.R. Glockner hit three key passes for 38 yards to keep the drive moving. Glockner finished the game 12 of 25 for 112 yards and an interception.

"Portsmouth did a good job on the opening drive. But after that, we tightened up a little and shut them down for the most part," Lutz said. "They hit some short out routes, but we adjusted and just missed picking two or three of those and taking them down the sidelines."

Ironton came right back after the kickoff and ran five plays to the Portsmouth 6-yard line. But the Trojans defense stiffened and Ironton was forced to kick a field goal.

A.J. Lutz split the uprights with a 22-yard kick and Ironton trailed 6-3 with 2:14 left in the quarter.

A 43-yard kickoff return by Andrew Newman put Portsmouth at the Ironton 40, but Josh Sand intercepted a pass on the first play of the second quarter and returned the pick 70 yards to the Portsmouth 25.

"I kept running and thinking, 'should I cut back or keep going down the sidelines.' When it was over, I was tired," Sands said.

Six plays later Murphy bulled his way into the end zone and Ironton led 10-6.

After forcing a Portsmouth punt, Ironton had the ball back at its own 29. Williams broke loose on a 49-yard run that got the ball to the Trojans 23 and set up another 1-yard run by Murphy eight plays later that extended the lead to 17-6.

Chris Collins recovered a Portsmouth fumble on the kickoff and Ironton had the ball at the 33. But with only 32 seconds left, Ironton was unable to capitalize and Newman intercepted a desperation pass at the goal line as the half ended.

Neither team could move the ball in the third quarter until Portsmouth got possession at the 47.

The Trojans got to the Ironton 15, but Bray was dropped for a 3 yard loss and two passes fell incomplete.

Faced with a fourth-and-13, Glockner hit Billy Payne with a square out and Payne slipped a tackle as he ran into the end zone for the touchdown with seven seconds left in the quarter.

The conversion pass failed and Ironton's lead was 17-12.

"There's no way we should have let that happen. We told the secondary to keep everything in front of them," Lutz said.

Ironton tried to answer only to have a drive to the Portsmouth 46 end with a fumble on a fourth-and-1 play with 6:10 left.

The Trojans picked up a first down, but Newman managed to run for just 1 yard and Glockner had three passes go incomplete.

The Fighting Tigers took over on downs at the 22 and put an insurance touchdown on the board when Sands outran the defense to the end zone on a second-and-goal from the 7.

The Trojans had one final possession and Glockner hit four straight passes for 27 yards to midfield. But an incomplete pass was followed by two straight Steve Elswick quarterback sacks to end the game.

"Their quarterback did a good job hitting some passes, but other than the one play, they didn't hurt us with the big play," Lutz said.

Ironton begins a stretch of three straight away games next week at Boyd County, Ky.



First Quarter

Prt - Tyler Clifford 1 run (run failed) 6:44

Irn - A.J. Lutz 22 field goal


Second Quarter

Irn - Jarod Murphy 1 run (A.J. Lutz kick)


Irn - Jarod Murphy 1 run (A.J. Lutz kick)


Third Quarter

Prt - Billy Payne 18 pass from J.R. Glockner (pass failed)


Fourth Quarter

Irn - Josh Sands 7 run (A.J. Lutz kick)




First downs1510


Passing yards1126

Total yards191225






Individual Leaders

RUSHING - Portsmouth: Andrew Newman 11-41, Aaron Bray 14-31, Tyler Clifford 5-20, J.R. Glockner 2-minus 13. Ironton: Marcus Williams 13-111, Jarod Murphy 22-76, Josh Sands 8-22, Derique Bacon 1-5, Marland Turner 1-5.

PASSING - Portsmouth: J.R. Glockner 12-25-1

112. Ironton: Josh Sands 1-5-1


RECEIVING - Portsmouth: Michael Purdy 5-52, Billy Payne 3-33, Andrew Newman 1-10, Justin Nelson 2-9, Tyler Clifford 1-8. Ironton: Derique Bacon 1-6.