Fighting Tigers make small change of Ashland

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bob Lutz doesn't mind the pocket change. He just wants to avoid the big bills.

Playing its typical patient, reading defense, Ironton shut down the Ashland Tomcats offense Friday night as the Fighting Tigers rolled to a 34-6 win.

"Teams are not going to put points on the board nickel and diming us," Lutz said. "We kept everything in front of us. There's not that many college caliber quarterbacks out there. They're not going to (throw the short route) down the field."

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Lutz was so right. Ashland quarterback Drew Thomas completed 11 of 20 passes, but he netted just 88 yards. Ironton picked two attempts.

"Their quarterback played pretty well. He didn't lose his cool. He made some mistakes and he made some plays," Lutz said. "We got some pressure on him, but we let him get loose up the middle. (Josh) Carty sprained an ankle and didn't move well. That had something to do with it."

While the defense was patient, the offense was just the opposite. Ironton didn't waste time scoring touchdowns. The longest drive lasted seven plays and Ironton had scoring drives of two and three plays.

The main lightning rod in the offense was halfback Darius Lewis who carried just 13 times but amassed 270 yards including touchdown runs of 58, 62 and 63 yards.

"I was tired," Lewis said. "I almost had (300 yards) on my last run, but I cut back and someone hit my leg and I went down."

Fullback Jared Murphy, out most of the season with an ankle injury, returned to the lineup and ran nine times for 75 yards. Marcus Williams had 63 yards on seven attempts.

"I said at the beginning of the year we had three backs and all of them were a load," Lutz said.

Williams went 82 yards for a touchdown on Ironton's first play of the game, but a penalty brought the ball back to the 42. Lewis scored on the next play and it was 6-0.

Ironton, 5-0, got the ball back with 2:16 left in the first quarter and scored three plays later on a 35-yard pass from Josh Adkins to Shane Kerns. Williams ran for the conversion and it was 14-0.

Kerns now has six receptions on the season and four have gone for touchdowns.

The lead grew to 20-0 in the second quarter when Lewis took the ball on a third-and-19 and ran 62 yards for a score. Tyler McDaniels had a downfield block to help spring Lewis.

"They were another team that put them all up there on the line of scrimmage, and if you break the plane you've got a chance to go the distance," Lutz said.

Ironton got the ball to start the second half and fumbled it away at the 45. Ashland (3-3) took advantage of the situation to drive to the 18, but Chad Miller intercepted a tipped pass in the end zone.

A penalty on the return pushed Ironton back to its own 4-yard line, but six plays later Lewis bolted 63 yards for another touchdown. Murphy added the conversion and it was 28-0.

An interception by Eric Layne at the Ironton 38 set up the next scoring drive. Five plays later Murphy pounded his way into the end zone from 15 yards out and it was 34-0 with 9:22 to play.

Ashland (3-3) finally got on the scoreboard against the Ironton second team when Tyler Reliford ran 9 yards for a touchdown to cap a 75-yard, nine-play march.

Ironton came into the game ranked third in the Associated Press poll and second in the Div. IV Region 15 computer ratings.



First Quarter

Irn - Darius Lewis 58 run (kick failed) 9:28

Irn - Shane Kerns 25 pass from Josh Adkins (Marcus Williams run) 1:05

Second Quarter

Irn - Darius Lewis 62 run (kick fail) 6:43

Third Quarter

Irn - Darius Lewis 63 run (Jared Murphy run) 2:27

Fourth Quarter

Irn - Jared Murphy 15 run (kick fail) 9:22

Ash - Tyler Reliford 9 run (Clay Fedde kick) 4:08



First downs1319


Passing yards8825

Total yards190497






Individual Leaders

RUSHING – Ashland: Tyler Reliford 11-59, Drew Thomas 15-36, Adam Clark 2-10, Matt Thomas 6-minus 3; Ironton: Darius Lewis 13-270, Jared Murphy 9-75, Marcus Williams 7-63, Joey Zornes 4-26, Andrew Walker 2-10, Sam Hensley 1-7, Josh Adkins 3-minus 6.

PASSING – Ashland: Drew Thomas 11-20-2 88; Ironton: Josh Adkins 1-3-1 25.

RECEIVING – Ashland: Justin Canty 4-31, Sam Hensley 3-26, Matt Thomas 2-14, Jonathan Neyer 1-8; Ironton: Shane Kerns 1-25.