Fighting Tigers get much-needed win over Ashland

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 14, 2007

ASHLAND, Ky. — The Ironton Fighting Tigers needed a check up, or, more appropriately, a gut check.

The team’s top physician, coach Bob Lutz, assessed the situation and gave his diagnosis to the team.

“We needed a win,” said Lutz.

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After losing their first two games by a combined 95-6 score, Ironton dominated on both sides of the ball and beat the rival Ashland Tomcats 27-7 Friday at Putnam Stadium.

Ironton (1-2) limited Ashland to 151 yards rushing — 66 coming in the Tomcats scoring drive against the second team defense — and a mere 3 yards passing.

Marc Carter, Chance Freeman, and Chris Warner all had interceptions to go with a fourth turnover — a fumble that resulted in a touchdown to end the first half.

“We made a lot of mistakes in the first half,” said Lutz. “We got one gift score and we caused another, but we should have scored two other times. Defensively we just tried to keep the pressure on them.”

Tony Murphy applied the defensive pressure from his nose guard position and also powered his way through the Ashland defense for 121 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns.

”I thought offense was easy. Our line blocked really well,” said Murphy. “Defense was hard. Chasing (quarterback Matt Thomas) around back there was a hassle. He was hard to catch.”

Thomas finished with 100 yards on 16 carries, but 49 of those yards came on the scoring drive against the second team.

“We’ve got to figure out what we can do offensively with the group of guys we have,” said Ashland coach Leon Hart. “We were horrible offensively.”

Ironton dropped a potential touchdown pass but got the ball back on an interception by Marc Carter at the Ashland 22.

Two plays later the Fighting Tigers fumbled the ball away. Ironton fumbled another scoring chance away at the Ashland 21 early in the second quarter.

The first half appeared to be a scoreless battle until Corey Dyer blocked an Ashland punt with 26 seconds left in the half that put the ball on the Tomcats’ 5.

Two plays later Murphy scored from a yard out and Jon Schweickart’s conversion kick made it 7-0.

On the first play after the kickoff, Ashland’s Rashard Carter bobbled a handoff and was wrapped up by Jon Monnig. While Monnig was trying to make the tackle, Schweickart pulled the ball away from Carter and ran 16 yards for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead with no time on the clock.

“The blocked punt we earned. The fumble was a gift,” said Lutz.

Freeman picked off a Thomas pass and ran it back 49 yards to the Ashland 29. Six plays later Schweickart scored and it was 20-0 with just 50 seconds left in the third quarter.

After a Warner interception, Ironton ate up 8:13 of the clock by driving 62 yards in 13 plays capped by Murphy’s 5-yard touchdown run with 3:30 to play.

Rashard Carter’s 27-yard scoring run with 1:46 to play spoiled Ironton’s shutout bid.