Ironton runs by Warren into playoffs
The Ironton Fighting Tigers offense may not be indestructible, but it proved to be waterproof.
The Fighting Tigers used their ground game to battle the rainy weather as they beat the Warren Warriors 31-6 Friday night in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.
Ironton did lose two fumbles, but one came late with the second unit on the field. However, the other did stop a scoring threat.
“Considering the weather, we did a pretty good job of taking care of the football,” said Ironton coach Bob Lutz. “We were able to move the ball on the ground pretty much as we needed. We got a good surge up front. Our backs ought to love running behind (Tony) Murphy and (Sam) Cramblit and (Michael) Lamb.”
Murphy, Cramblit and Lamb make up the right side of the offensive line, but the group to the left of center Taylor Barker did their share of good work as well as Robbie Webb, Geoff White, and Jon Monnig help keep the Warriors from stacking one side of the line of scrimmage.
Of Ironton’s 300 total yards, 290 came on the ground. Chance Freeman ran 13 times for 106 yards, Major Brice seven times for 94 yards, and Keith Wetzel carried 12 times for 66 yards.
“We’re hitting the hole quicker and we’re getting better blocking for each other,” said Lutz.
Ironton finishes the regular season 7-3 and 4-2 in the SEOAL. The Fighting Tigers will host Westfall in a Region 15 Division IV playoff game at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.
Westfall (8-2) was 13-1 last season and reached the state semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Coldwater 56-14. The teams have met three times in the playoffs with Ironton winning 41-21 in 2004 and 21-7 in 2005 while Westfall won 42-35 in 2006.
Warren ends the year 4-6 and 1-5.
Ironton scored on its first four possessions.
The Fighting Tigers went 75 yards in eight plays to open the game. Freeman scored on a 6-yard run and also ran for the conversion and it was 8-0.
After a 22-yard Warren punt, Ironton scored in two plays. Freeman ran 13 yards and Brice bolted 39 yards on the next play and it was 14-0 with 5:23 left in the quarter.
Warren answered with its lone score of the game on the next series.
The Warriors had a no gain on first down, but Andrew Dunfee ran 45 yards to the Ironton 5-yard line on the next play and Kaleb Wolfe followed with a 5-yard run into the left corner of the end zone with 3:56 left in the first quarter.
The conversion kick failed and it was 14-6.
The Fighting Tigers began a 12-play drive that covered 66 yards on their next possession. A 14-yard run by Brice got the ball inside the 1-yard line and quarterback Johnathon Schweickart scored on the next play. He also kicked the point after for a 21-6 lead.
A 53-yard kickoff return by Grant Venham put Warren at the Ironton 44, but the Warriors squandered the opportunity as they fumbled the ball away at the 30.
Ironton took advantage of the mistake and drove the length of the field with Wetzel scoring from 4 yards out nine plays later and it was 28-6.
The Fighting Tigers proved they weren’t immune to the fumble in the wet weather when they lost the ball at the Warren 17-yard line early in the third quarter.
However, they did get another possession and managed a 22-yard field goal by Schweickart with just 15 seconds on the third quarter clock.
Warren 6 0 0 0 = 6
Ironton 14 14 3 0 = 31
Irn – Chance Freeman 6 run (Freeman run) 9:09
Irn – Major Brice 39 run (run failed) 5:23
Wa – Kaleb Wolfe 5 run (kick failed) 3:56
Irn – Johnathon Schweickart 1 run (Schweickart kick) 10:51
Irn – Keith Wetzel 4 run (Johnathon Schweickart kick) 3:54
Irn – Johnathon Schweickart 22 field goal 0:15
First downs 10 15
Rushes-yards 35-133 41-290
Passing yards 48 10
Total yards 181 300
Cmp-Att-Int 4-10-1 1-4-0
Fumbles-lost 5-2 2-2
Penalties-yards 2-10 1-5
Punts-average 3-28.0 2-35.5
RUSHING–Warren: Andrew Dunfee 8-54, Seth Wellspring 13-50, Kaleb Wolfe 5-30, Kyle Pritt 3-11, Clay Ellenwood 6-minus 10. Ironton: Chance Freeman 13-106, Major Brice 7-94, Keith Wetzel 12-66, J.P. Taylor 2-17, Johnathon Schweickart 2-6, Tres Wilks 1-3, Ethan Preston 3-1, Courtney Lewis 1-minus 3.
PASSING–Warren: Clay Ellenwood 1-3-0 7, Justin Hilverding 3-7-1 41. Ironton: Johnathon Schweickart 1-4-0 10.
RECEIVING–Warren: Tyler Cox 2-22, Kyle Pritt 1-19, Eric Hoon 1-7. Ironton: Lucas Morris 1-10.
MISSED FIELD GOALS: None.