Ironton mistakes give Gallipolis win

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Somebody empty that gun barrel.

If it wasn’t a penalty it was a turnover that slowed or stopped the Ironton offense as the Fighting Tigers lost to the Gallipolis Blue Devils 14-7 Friday in a Southern Ohio Conference game.

“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” Ironton coach Merril Triplett Jr. said. “Our kids played hard, we just had too many mistakes.

Email newsletter signup

“We wanted to run the T (T-formation) and we wanted to run the clock You can’t run the T when you’re first and 15 or first and 20.”

The Gallipolis offense took more advantage of missed tackles than Ironton mistakes to score.

On four different occasions, Ironton had a Gallipolis runner cornered in the backfield for a big loss only to see the players break tackles and make huge gains.

“Every big play we had was negated by a penalty. Every big play they made we missed a tackle,” Triplett said.

Using the big plays and a controlled passing game, Gallipolis managed 284 total yards. With the offense struggling to move the ball due to penalties, Ironton finished with 183 total yards.

“That’s the best defense we’ve played, we just couldn’t get our offense going,” Triplett said. “They played pretty good defense. It was a heck of a game.”

The loss was crucial to Ironton’s SEOAL title hopes. The Fighting Tigers are 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the league. However, the loss hurt but did not eliminate Ironton’s postseason playoff chances.

On the other hand, Gallipolis (5-2, 2-2) enhanced its playoff chances in Division III. The vaictory was the Blue Devils first win over Ironton since 1984 and the first at Tanks Memorial Stadium since 1965.

The Fighting Tigers look to score after the opening kickoff when Chad Miller broke off a 43-yard run to the Gallipolis 16.

But a 4-yard loss on third-and-5 and an incomplete fourth down pass ended the drive.

After and exchange of punts, Gallipolis had the ball at its own 14. Quarterback Jeff Golden was trapped for what appeared to be an 8-yard loss only to break free and race 62 yards to the Ironton 24.

A third down pass from Golden to Chris McCoy covered 13 yards to the 9 and Seth Haner scored from inside the 1-yard line on a fourth down play.

Nick Stevens kicked the extra point and it was 7-0.

Ironton answered with a 59-yard, 16-play drive that spilled over into the second quarter. Dominic Murphy ran the final 3 yards and Craig Stamper’s conversion kick tied the gamewith 7:22 left in the half.

Gallipolis recovered an Ironton fumble at their own 46 and nearly scored at the end of the half.

Jayme Haggerty beat the Ironton secondary deep on a third-and-10 from the 24 and caught a touchdown pass momentarily. The officials ruled the ball was being juggled and hit the ground before Haggerty could gain control.

Stevens attempted a 41-yard field goal that fell short to end the half.

The Blue Devils put together the winning scoring drive to begin the second half.

The 72-yard, nine-play drive culminated with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Haggerty with 9:00 on the clock.

Ironton tried to get a drive going following a 50-yard kickoff return by Marc Carter to the Blue Devils 40.

But the Fighting Tigers saw a fourth-and-4 play lose 3 yards.

In the fourth quarter, Ironton had a penalty derail its first possession and three interceptions ended their final three possessions.

Miller led all rushers with 100 yards on 16 carries.

Haggerty ran 8 times for 82 yards and caught four passes for 48 yards.