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Ironton unable to tackle Trojans

The game of football is about blocking and tackling. The Ironton Fighting Tigers handled the blocking part, but as for that tackling stuff …

Ironton was able to move the football against Portsmouth Friday night, but the Fighting Tigers had little success trying to stop the Trojans in a 41-18 Southeastern Ohio Athletic League loss.

“We were able to move the ball and score, we just got handled by their offensive line and then their quarterback did pretty much what he wanted,” Ironton coach Bob Lutz said.

“We didn’t tackle them and we didn’t cover them. It’s that simple. I don’t know how many times we made a hit at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield and their guy just kept running.”

Ironton rolled up 324 yards of total offense that could have been even more if not for the 30 yards in minus rushing yards due to quarterback sacks.

But Portsmouth racked up 414 total yards including 281 on the ground. Porter was 9-of-14 passing for 133 yards and carried 17 times for 103 more.

“(Shane Porter) is a good athlete and a good runner. We knew going in we had to stop him and we didn’t,” said Lutz.

The loss leaves Ironton in a tie for second place in the SEOAL with Portsmouth and Zanesville, one game behind Logan. Ironton (5-3, 4-1) hosts Zanesville this Friday and travels to Logan the following week.

Portsmouth (7-1, 4-1) started its first drive at the Ironton 38 after Cory Reeves broke several tackles on the kickoff and ran 44 yards.

A second down pass was nearly intercepted near the sidelines, but the ball tipped and fell in Malik White’s hands for a 20-yard gain. Two plays later White caught an 11-yard scoring pass and it was 7-0.

Ironton answered with a 56-yard, 10-play drive capped by Tony Murphy’s 1-yard run. The kick failed and Ironton trailed 7-6.

The Trojans came right back and went 60 yards in nine plays on their following possession and took a 13-6 lead as Porter hit Forrest Johnson on a 22-yard pass.

Again Ironton answered the challenge with an 11-play, 68-yard march the culminated on a 6-yard run by Chance Freeman and it was 13-12.

Portsmouth held serve on its next possession thanks to a 49-yard scamper by Chaze Southern to the Ironton 18. Wes Jordan scored four plays later and he also ran for the conversion for a 21-12 lead.

Jordan sack Ironton quarterback Jon Schweickart for a 16-yard loss on the next series to force a punt and the Trojans went on an 80-yard scoring drive. Porter threw 3 yards to Johnson and it was 27-12.

Ironton began a drive to start the second half and got to the Portsmouth 16. But Murphy fumbled and Porter recovered at the 14. Murphy suffered a twisted ankle on the play and did not return on offense.

“We felt like if we could come out and score and hold them a series, we could make the game manageable,” said Lutz.

Neither team scored in the quarter, but Portsmouth did start a drive that spilled over into the fourth quarter and ended on a 1-yard plunge by Porter and it was 33-12 with 9:25 left.

The Fighting Tigers answered with a scoring drive of 70 yards as backup fullback Keith Wetzel ran 3 yards for the touchdown with 5:29 left.

An onside kickoff bounced the wrong way and Portsmouth got the ball at the Ironton 38. A 28-yard run by Jordan set up a 2-yard run by Southern and it was 41-18with 2:56 left.

Ironton came right back with another drive but had a questionable fumble at the 2-yard line and Portsmouth recovered with just 14 seconds remaining.