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Good Knights means bad night for Ironton

CHILLICOTHE – The little engine that thought he could became the locomotive that did.

Two early turnovers turned the momentum and ignited a 28-point first quarter as the Ironton Fighting Tigers self-destructed in a 47-14 loss to Chillicothe Cavaliers Friday in a pivotal Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.

“We got run over by the momentum locomotive,” Ironton coach Merril Triplett Jr. said.

“We had a couple of turnovers early and they scored. That kind of shell-shocked us and got the momentum rolling for them and we never recovered.”

Feeling the momentum surge was Cavaliers quarterback Caleb Knights who was nearly perfect in the first half. Knights was 19 of 20 for 271 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as Chillicothe built a 41-7 cushion at the break.

“He’s a heck of an athlete. We couldn’t get any pressure on him and he got in a zone and couldn’t miss,” Triplett said.

Knights was 2 of 6 for 35 yards in the second half. His only interception was returned by Ironton’s Marc Carter 80 yards for a touchdown.

“Our kids never quit. They played hard the whole game,” Triplett said.

Ironton (3-2, 1-1) never got its offense in gear. The Fighting Tigers managed just 45 yards passing and 119 rushing.

Chillicothe (4-1, 2-0) did the bulk of its damage through the air. While 305 yards came through the air, the Cavaliers gained 103 yards rushing on 30 carries.

Ironton’s misfortunes started early. On the second play of the game, Chris Givens intercepted a pass and returned it to the Ironton 20.

Three plays later, Clay Beeler scored on a 5-yard run and it was 7-0 after Drew Basil’s kick.

Ironton went 3-and-out on its next series and Chillicothe had the ball at its own 35. Knights completed four straight passes including a 9-yarder to Isaac Steele for the touchdown and it was 14-0.

Steele had nine receptions for 137 yards. Givens caught six

passes for 54 yards and ran for another 54 yards.

More disaster struck when Ironton fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the 32-yard line.

A 27-yard completionto Steele set up a 1-yard run by Knights and the lead was 21-0.

A fake punt by Ironton came up inches short of a first down and gave the ball to the Cavaliers at the Fighting Tigers 30. This time it took just three plays as Beeler ran 2 yards for the score and it was 28-0 with 3:20 to go in the first quarter.

Ironton finally got some offense going on a 33-yard pass from Chris Miller to Dominique Murphy who made a nice catch to the Cavaliers 21.

Miller broke free on the next play to score and Ironton trailed 28-7.

But Knights was 4 of 4 passing on the next series, the last toss going 7 yards to Isaac and it was 34-7.

But Chillicothe wasn’t finished yet.

Getting the ball at its own 47, Chillicothe needed six plays to put one more score on the board.

A 22-yard run by Knights got the ball to the 2-yard line that set up a TD pass to Givens with just eight seconds on the clock and it was 41-7.