Mistakes costly for Ironton in 7-0 loss to Chieftains

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2006

IRONTON - If only the rain could have washed away the mistakes.

Penalties and a couple of bad breaks foiled Ironton’s hopes of knocking off Southeastern Ohio League champion Logan Friday night as the Fighting Tigers fell 7-0 on Senior Night.

Ironton shut down the Logan offense in rainy, muddy conditions. The Chieftains crossed midfield only twice — both in the second quarter.

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Conversely, Ironton threatened on three occasions including two drives to the Logan 5-yard line.

But each time the Fighting Tigers failed to capitalize because of self-inflicted mistakes.

“Penalties killed us,” Ironton coach Merril Triplett said. “Our line did a great job. Our defense played great. (Logan) rose to the occasion when they had to. They got penetration when they needed it.”

The penetration by the Logan defense came on Ironton’s final scoring threat late in the game.

Ironton marched from its own 32-yard line to the Logan 5 in nine plays. But on fourth down and 2, Drew Kuehne was stopped for no gain on a quarterback sneak with 5:25 left.

“Looking back now, we probably should have gone to our 250-pound fullback sitting back there, but we didn’t want to risk a handoff,” Triplett said.

“Our headphones went out with about five minutes left and we couldn’t see (from the sidelines) what defense they were in.”

However, the defense stopped Logan for no gain twice and then got a 2-yard loss to force a punt.

After a Logan timeout, Chad Miller returned the punt near the Chieftains 25-yard line with 3:08 to play.

But Ironton was called for having 12 men on the field and the 15-yard penalty gave Logan a first down and they were able to run out the clock.

“I thought we’d score that time,” linebacker and tight end Andy Colegrove said of the final drive. “We wanted to finish off one of our red zone drives. That’s what beat us. We have to score in the red zone.”

The only score of the game was a 65-yard screen pass from Michael Angle to Clay Morgan in the second quarter. Morgan ran down the sideline virtually untouched with Miller the only player to even get close to the play.

“They just happened to call the right play for the defense we were in,” Triplett said.

“We played real good defense except for one play,” said Miller. “If that doesn’t happen, we’re still out there playing.”

Miller moved from quarterback to halfback in the first quarter when leading rusher Dominic Murphy suffered an ankle sprain and was forced to leave the game.

Miller ran 16 timers for 79 yards including 44 of the 61 yards in the drive.

“We lose Dom and right off the bat we have to change our game plan,” Triplett said. “But Chad ran great. Our little guys float on top of that slop.”

The Fighting Tigers got to the Logan 5-yard line in the first quarter, but a penalty pushed the ball back to the 10 and a fourth down pass fell incomplete.

Ironton had a drive in the third quarter that stalled at the Logan 26 due in part to an illegal procedure penalty.

Despite the loss, Ironton still finished fifth in Region 15 of Division IV. The Fighting Tigers (6-4, 4-3 SEOAL) will play at Westfall Friday in the postseason playoffs.

The Chieftains, who qualified for the Division I playoffs, are 8-2 and end 7-0 in the league.