Ironton beats Rock Hill in playoff opener

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2003

There was some good news and some bad news for the Ironton Fighting Tigers. And then there was some more good news.

The goods news was a quick-strike offense that generated 377 total yards. The bad news was the defense that gave up 282 yards. But in the end, the best news was a 48-7 win over the Rock Hill Redmen Saturday night in the Division IV Region 15 quarterfinals at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

Jared Murphy ran 18 times for 107 yards and scored four touchdowns as Ironton improved to 10-1 on the season. Derique Bacon added 56 yards and a touchdown to the balanced backfield and Darius Lewis came off the bench to net 87 yards and the final Ironton score.

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But Rock Hill didn't let up. The Redmen ran for 207 net yards and had another 75 passing. James Russell led all rushers with 133 yards on 25 carries and Kenny Elswick added 52 yards on 10 attempts.

"Our offense was pretty good," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "They were guessing and putting nine men up near the line of scrimmage. We hit a couple of passes and should have hit a couple more. But overall, the offense was pretty good.

"The defense was a different story. We didn't have the same intensity we had last week. But you have to give Rock Hill credit. They were aggressive and they came after us. They did their homework."

Redmen coach Bob McCollister said before the game that his team couldn't afford to turn the ball over, but the Rock Hill (7-4) lost three fumbles and suffered an interception that all led to Ironton scores.

"You have to control the ball against Ironton and you can't turn it over. You can't give them more and more chances or they'll just keep scoring," McCollister said.

And they did.

Rock Hill took the opening kickoff and drove to the Ironton 19, but Steve Elswick recovered a fumble at the 26 to stop the threat.

Ironton quickly drove to the Redmen 35 in four plays, but the Fighting Tigers fumbled the ball away at the 34.

The Fighting Tigers defense stopped the Redmen on three plays for

minus 8 yards and forced a punt. A bad snap gave them the ball at the 13 and Murphy scored five plays later from a yard out. A.J. Lutz kicked the first of six straight conversions and it was 7-0.

The Redmen moved the ball to the Ironton 26, but a fourth-and-11 pass was batted down by Bacon.

Adam Ferguson recovered a Rock Hill fumble with 6:39 left in the half at the 20.

Five plays later, Murphy powered his way into the end zone from 3 yards out and it was 14-0.

Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Steve Elswick picked off a pass at the Ironton 47. Ironton then went 53 yards in six plays capped by Bacon's 13-yard scoring jaunt with 1:46 left in the half and it was 21-0.

It didn't take Ironton long to score after the half. On the third play, Josh Sands hit Nick Collins behind the Redmen secondary for a 44-yard scoring play and it was 28-0.

Steve Elswick recovered another Rock Hill fumble two plays later at the Redmen 39 and Murphy scooted 30 yards for the touchdown three plays later for a 35-0 lead.

"The defense didn't play real well, but we made some big plays," coach Lutz said.

Rock Hill then put together its only scoring drive with a 55-yard, six-play march capped by a 9-yard pass from Steven Daily to Roger Joseph. Matt McFann's conversion kick made it 35-7.

Ironton was able to score before the end of the quarter aided by Marland Turner's 27-yard run. Murphy ran the final 2 yards and it was 42-7.

The Fighting Tigers second unit stopped Rock Hill at the 1-yard line following a first-and-goal at the 5. Lewis bolted 77 yards to the Rock Hill 19 and two plays later he fought his way into the end zone from 2 yards out to cap the scoring.

Ironton will play Bellaire, probably in the Columbus area, at 7 p.m. next Saturday. Bellaire beat Westfall 27-6 Saturday afternoon.

Rock Hill0070-7


First Quarter

Irn - Jared Murphy 1 run (A.J. Lutz kick) 1:27

Second Quarter

Irn - Jared Murphy 3 run (A.J. Lutz kick) 4:07

Irn - Derique Bacon 13 run(A.J. Lutz kick) 1:46

Third Quarter

Irn - Nick Collins 44 pass from Josh Sands (A.J. Lutz kick) 10:57

Irn - Jared Murphy 30 run (A.J. Lutz kick) 8:54

RH - Roger Joseph 9 pass from Steven Daily (Matt McFann kick) 2:32

Irn - Jared Murphy 2 run (A.J. Lutz kick)


Fourth Quarter

Irn - Darius Lewis 2 run (bad snap – run failed)


First downs:Rock Hill19; Ironton17

Rushes-yards:Rock Hill56-207; Ironton41-314

Passing yards:Rock Hill75; Ironton63

Total yards:Rock Hill282; Ironton377

Cmp-Att-Int:Rock Hill5-9-1; Ironton3-6-0

Fumbles-lost:Rock Hill5-3; Ironton1-1

Punts-average:Rock Hill2-32.5; Ironton2-33.5

Penalties-yards:Rock Hill4-35; Ironton0-0

Individual Leaders

RUSHING - Rock Hill: James Russell 25-133, Dan Mullins 8-32, Kenny Elswick 10-52, Steven Daily 4-minus 14, Micah Settle 1-minus 7, T.J. Blagg 2-14, David Stevens 2-4, Eric Christian 2-6, team 1-minus 13. Ironton: Jared Murphy 18-107, Derique Bacon 7-56, Marcus Williams 9-36, Marland Turner 2-37, Darius Lewis 4-87, Josh Sands 1-minus 9.

PASSING - Rock Hill: Steven Daily 5-9-1

75. Ironton: Josh Sands 3-6-0


RECEIVING - Rock Hill: Roger Joseph 4-55, Donald Cade 1-20. Ironton: Nick Collins 2-49, Marcus Williams 1-14.