Fighting Tigers corral Mustangs, 21-7

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

JACKSON - The Ironton Fighting Tigers were a pickin' and a grinnin'.

Ironton's secondary intercepted four passes and the defense held Westfall's explosive offense to just 7 points as the Fighting Tigers beat the Mustangs 21-7 Saturday night in the Division IV Region 15 semifinals.

&#8220We played pretty good defense. They hit a few passes underneath and a couple of swing passes, but we played pretty well in the secondary,” Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

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Ironton (10-2) outgained Westfall 228 to 212 in total yards. Lutz said poor field position hampered Ironton's offense.

&#8220They jammed the line of scrimmage pretty good but we made the plays when we had to,” Lutz said.

&#8220When we had good field position, we scored. When you're pinned back in your own territory, you're more conservative and we didn't want to make any mistakes.”

The Fighting Tigers did not have a turnover.

&#8220The defense played well. Our pass coverage was better than it has been all year,” said linebacker and running back Darius Lewis.

All four Ironton defensive backs had an interception.

After a scoreless first quarter, Ironton began to assert itself in the second stanza.

A 31-yard run by Seth Hardin got Westfall to the Ironton 28, but the Fighting Tigers defense held the Mustangs to 3 yards and three incomplete passes.

With 6:46 left in the half, Ironton went on a 61-yard, 10-play drive capped by Chad Miller's 2-yard keeper. Craig Stamper kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead at the 2:05 mark.

Ironton had a 50-yard scoring pass from Miller to Brandon Walker erased on a holding penalty early in the drive.

The Fighting Tigers defense held on the next series at its own 28 despite an interference penalty that aided the Westfall drive.

With 12 seconds left, backup quarterback Drew Kuehne hit Miller with a 57-yard touchdown pass and it was 14-0.

The pass was tipped in the air, but Miller kept his concentration and made the catch at the 30-yard line and ran it into the end zone.

&#8220I went inside and (the defensive back) hit the ball up in the air. I just kept my eyes on it and made the catch,” Miller said.

Field position played a key factor in Westfall's touchdown.

Faced with a fourth down at its own 1-yard line, a 34-yard punt gave the Mustangs the ball at the Ironton 35.

Seven plays later quarterback Kevin Smith ran 7 yards for a touchdown and Ironton's lead was cut to 14-7 with 10:20 to play.

Ironton answered with a quick 69-yard, five-play drive keyed by a 39-yard catch-and-run by Lewis who shed four tackles down to the Westfall 30-yard line.

Eric Layne and Jared Murphy each carried twice with Murphy running the final 8 yards for the touchdown and 8:25 left on the clock.

Westfall's next three possessions ended in interceptions by Dominic Murphy, Vernon Wilson and Layne.

&#8220It was definitely our best performance of the year in the secondary,” Layne said.

Wilson's interception came in the end zone on a fade route. Westfall receiver Jack Gose tried to take the ball from Wilson who was already on the ground for the touchback.

&#8220I just read the quarterback and the receiver and I went for the ball,” Wilson said. &#8220I was on the ground and laid the ball out for the official and they grabbed it, but I was all ready down.”

Ironton will play Bellaire at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Lancaster for the regional championship.



Second Quarter

Irn - Chad Miller 2 run (Craig Stamper kick) 2:05

Irn - Chad Miller 57 pass from Drew Kuehne (Craig Stamper kick) 0:02

Fourth Quarter

WF - Kevin Smith 7 run (Cameron Puckett kick) 10:20

Irn - Jared Murphy 8 run (Craig Stamper kick) 8:25



First downs1510


Passing yards11496

Total yards212228






Individual Leaders

RUSHING - Westfall: Kevin Smith 23-55, Seth Hardin 2-34, Skylar Gibson 5-9; Ironton: Jared Murphy 12-69, Darius Lewis 17-55, Eric Layne 4-22, Chad Miller 6-minus 14, Dominic Murphy 1-0.

PASSING - Kevin Smith 12-31-4 114; Ironton: Chad Miller 1-3-0 39, Drew Kuehne 1-1-0 57.

RECEIVING - Westfall: Jack Gose 3-31, Skylard Gibson 2-3, Dane Smith 1-7, Nick Clark 3-21, Seth Hardin 3-52; Ironton: Chad Miller 1-57, Darius Lewis 1-39.