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Ironton pounds away at Gallipolis

GALLIPOLIS - The Ironton Fighting Tigers didn't follow the script.

Last week, the Gallipolis Blue Devils fell behind by two touchdowns and rallied to beat Wheelersburg 37-30.

The Blue Devils found themselves behind 26-14 Friday night and were thinking of making a sequel called The Comeback II.

But Ironton ignored the script and wrote their own ending with a dominating offensive performance to win 40-21 in a battle of unbeatens.

"We knew they were a big play team and that they were capable of coming back," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said. "We wanted to drive the ball and keep the ball out of the hands of their offense, which we did."

The Fighting Tigers dominated the line of scrimmage as the running tandem of Darius Lewis and Jared Murphy combined for 227 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Ironton racked up 311 rushing yards and 382 overall.

Lewis had 130 yards on 14 carries and scored three touchdowns. Murphy finished with 97 yards on 20 rushes and scored twice.

"We came out and played well at the start of the game. We didn't do that in the first two games," Murphy said.

Quarterback Chad Miller was 2 of 3 for 71 yards, both to Brandon Walker including a 32-yarder for a touchdown.

Ironton's defense contained standout Jayme Haggerty almost the entire game with the exception of one play. Haggerty broke several tackles on a sweep and went 64 yards for a touchdown just before halftime.

Haggerty had three receptions for just 13 yards and 75 yards rushing, 64 coming on the one play.

Seth Haner returned the opening kickoff 57 yards to the Ironton 35, but the defense held and Joe Esmaeili missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.

After trading punts, Ironton drove 61 yards in eight plays culminating on a 1-yard run by Murphy. Craig Stamper kicked the point after.

Starting the second quarter, Ironton drove 63 yards in nine plays with Lewis running through the Gallipolis defense for the touchdown and it was 13-0.

Gallipolis fumbled on the first place following the kickoff and Vernon Wilson recovered for Ironton at the 31. Two plays later Lewis scampered 29 yards into the end zone for a 19-0 lead.

With the aid of a 15-yard penalty against Ironton, Gallipolis went 78 yards in 11 plays for a score. Dustin Winters scored from a yard out and it was 19-7.

A 37-yard kickoff return by Stamper to the Blue Devils 40 ignited a six-play drive that ended in a 15-yard scoring run by Lewis and it was 26-7.

With time running out in the half, Haggerty took a handoff and ran 64 yards for a touchdown with 1:01 to play.

"Haggerty is heck of an athlete. We had two guys grab him and let him get away. But for the most part we did a good job containing their offense," Lutz said. "I

thought our offensive line came off the ball well and our backs ran hard and blocked well for each other."

Ironton kept pounding away at the Gallipolis defense and scored 14 points in the third quarter to lock up the win.

A 32-yard kickoff return by Miller put the ball at the 49. Nine plays later Murphy pounded his way off tackle from 2 yards out for the TD. Stamper's kick made it 33-14.

"The offensive line came off the ball and stayed with their blocks better. We got after it," Phillips said.

With the aid of a quarterback sack by Michael Phillips, Ironton forced a three-and-out on the next series and got the ball at its own 38.

Four running plays moved the ball to the Blue Devils 32 and then Miller threw to Brandon Walker behind the Gallipolis secondary for a touchdown. Stamper kicked the point after and it was 40-14 with 3:09 on the clock.

"I saw the play was open and I tried to get coach (Mike Burcham's) attention to run the play. He must have seen it, too," Walker said.

Gallipolis, 2-1, got a score against the Ironton second team as Winters ran 16 yards for the touchdown with 6:53 to go.

Ironton, 3-0, plays at Jackson next Friday.

Ironton719140=40

Gallipolis01407=21

First Quarter

Irn – Jared Murphy 1 run (Craig Stamper kick) 1:04

Second Quarter

Irn – Darius Lewis 11 run (kick failed) 8:31

Irn – Darius Lewis 29 run (run failed) 7:37

Gal – Dustin Winters 1 run (Joe Esmaeili kick) 3:46

Irn – Darius Lewis 15 run (Craig Stamper kick) 1:35

Gal – Jayme Haggerty 64 run (Joe Esmaeili kick) 1:01

Third Quarter

Irn – Jared Murphy 2 run (Craig Stamper kick) 7:07

Irn – Brandon Walker 32 pass from Chad Miller (Craig Stamper kick) 3:09

Fourth Quarter

Gal – Dustin Winters 16 run (Joe Esmaeili kick) 6:53

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IrnGal

First downs2114

Rushes-yards60-31127-149

Passing yards71105

Total yards382254

Cmp-Att-Int2-3-09-16-0

Fumbles-lost1-13-1

Punts-average2-26.53-29.0

Penalties-yards8-655-35

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING-Ironton: Darius Lewis 14-130, Jared Murphy 20-97, Eric Layne 5-10, Chad Miller 7-32, John McClellan 6-13, Drew Kuehne 3-7, Craig Stamper 3-14, Taville Osborne 2-8; Gallipolis: Jayme Haggerty 5-75, Dustin Winters 13-57, Seth Haner 7-32, Jeff Golden 2-minus 15.

PASSING-Ironton: Chad Miller 2-3-0 71; Gallipolis: Jeff Golden 9-16-0 105.

RECEIVING-Ironton: Brandon Walker 2-71; Gallipolis: Shaphen Robinson 4-75, Chris McCoy 2-14, Jayme Haggerty 3-13.

MISSED FIELD GOAL-Gallipolis, Joe Esmaeili 37 (WR).