Ironton whacks West

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

This time Ironton didn't wait until the second half.

Last season, Portsmouth West was a heavy underdog but surprised Ironton by taking a 10-0 halftime lead. The Fighting Tigers woke up at halftime and roared back for a 41-10 win.

Ironton coach Bob Lutz wasn't going to let that happen Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

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"We reminded them of that before the game," Lutz said.

The reminder was well taken as the Fighting Tigers spanked the Portsmouth West Senators 42-7.

West's hopes of an upset took a hit on the third play of the game when Jerrod Pendleton fumbled and Andrew Walker recovered for Ironton at the 35. Four plays later Jared Murphy scored from 7 yards out and it was 6-0.

Pendleton made amends for his fumble by scoring on the ensuing play. After it appeared his was stopped for little gain, Ironton's Marcus Williams was knocked off the tackle by a teammate and Pendleton got loose for a 69-yard touchdown run. Scott Summers kicked the conversion and West led 7-6 with 8:19 on the clock.

But the lead lasted just 3:26. Chad Miller ran the kickoff back 41 yards to the West 47 and six plays later Williams battled his way into the end zone. Darius Lewis added the conversion run and it was 14-7 with 5:13 left in the quarter.

It only got worse for West.

Ironton, 7-0, forced a punt and then went 55 yards on 12 plays capped by a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Josh Adkins and it was 20-7.

On the Senators next possession, Lewis intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards to the West 36. It took five plays to score as Murphy pounded his way into the end zone from 2 yards out and the lead was 26-7.

"They did a few things differently with their offense. And we got ourselves in trouble stunting. They ran some draws right past our stunts. We played it straight up in the second half and took care of that."

Ironton took the second half kickoff and drove to the West 11 before the drive stalled. The Senators went 3-and-out on their next series and Ironton had excellent field position at the 32.

Again the drive died prematurely at the 11.

Another West punt gave the ball to Ironton at the 41. This time Ironton went to the air and Josh Adkins hit Shane Kerns with a 41-yard touchdown pass. Lewis ran for the conversion and it was 24-7.

"I almost didn't see it. I looked up and got a glare from the lights," Kerns said. "But I have confidence I can make the catch and I have confidence Josh will get me the ball."

Branden Sites went 14 yards for the final Ironton touchdown and Justin Paulus celebrated his birthday with the 2-point conversion to set the final score.

Ironton rushed 55 times for 351 yards led by Lewis with 110 on 12 carries. Murphy had 79 on 16 attempts and Williams 32 on eight tries. The trio impressed West coach Mike Sammons.

"I'll say their backs are pretty good. They are three good ones," Sammons said.

The Fighting Tigers finished with 402 total yards. West had 212 yards, but 104 of its 141 rushing yards came on two plays.

"I thought we could have played better defensively. We kind of relaxed when we got the big lead," Lutz said. "Overall, we played pretty good offensively."

Ironton improved to 7-0 while West slipped to 3-4.