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#8217;Burg whips Tigers

What you see is what you get.

There was no mistake about what fans saw in the Ironton Fighting Tigers to open the season Friday night.

With only two starters back, Ironton’s lack of experience was glaring in a 39-6 loss to the Wheelersburg Pirates.

“We looked like we had a bunch of guys who have never played before, and we haven’t. We had a lot of guys who have never been in the fire,” said Ironton coach Bob Lutz.

“We didn’t block, we didn’t tackle, and we didn’t play with any intensity. We did a lot of watching.”

Not only did the lack of experience effect the outcome, so did several Ironton mistakes.

After Wheelersburg scored to open the game, Ironton fumbled on the first play following the kickoff to give the Pirates the ball at the 20-yard line. They scored two plays later.

A drive early in the second half went deep in Wheelersburg territory. A third down pass to Keith Wetzel got the ball near the 10-yard line, but a penalty on the play erased the gain and Ironton turned the ball over on downs.

Another drive in the third quarter had Ironton looking at third-and-5 at the 8-yard line, but quarterback Jonathan Schweickart was hit trying to throw and the ball squirted loose.

Jordan Shankweiler picked up the ball and ran 86 yards for the touchdown.

“We had guys open all night. We either missed them, dropped the pass, or didn’t block them up front,” said Lutz.

Wheelersburg muffed the opening kickoff and the ball went out-of-bounds at the 7-yard line.

The Pirates then went the length of the field in 17 plays aided by an Ironton penalty, two circus catches, and an improvised pass play.

Matt Jenkins ran 9 yards for the touchdown and it was 7-0.

Ironton then fumbled on the first play after the ensuing kickoff and Wheelersburg had the ball at the 20.

Two plays later, Drew Spradlin hit a leaping Dustin Cook for an 18-yard touchdown reception and it was 14-0.

“We had the coverage, but their guy was 6-5 and our guy was 5-5. That’s going to happen,” said Lutz.

After an Ironton punt, Wheelersburg went 63 yads in nine plays capped by Craig Stamper’s 19-yard run. The conversion kick was blocked and it was 20-0.

Ironton mounted a drive to the Pirates 36, but a motion penalty nullified Wetzel’s catch and run and forced a punt.

On the first play, Shonkweiler ran to his left and race 80 yards virtually untouched for the touchdown and a 26-0 lead.

A 74-yard pass to Kyle Blevings on the Pirates’ third play of the half extended the lead to 33-0.

“We lined up and our corner went to the wrong side. The other defensive back bit on the slant and they threw deep,” said Lutz.

More bad luck beset the Fighting Tigers later in the quarter.

A 37-yard pass from Schweickart to Lukas Morris to the ballot the Pirates 13. Chance Freeman ran 5 yards to the 8, but Schweickart was hit trying to play on the next play and the ball fell to the ground. Shonkweiler scooped up the ball and ran 85 yards for the touchdown.

Ironton avoided the shutout on a 1-yard run by Schweickart with seven minutes to play.