Ironton-Westfall games create instant classics
Been there, played that.
Friday’s Division IV quarterfinal playoff game at Tanks Memorial Stadium is something fans from Ironton and Westfall have seen before. And before and before and before.
The two schools have met three previous times — all in the playoffs — and at three different sites.
Ironton hosted the Mustangs in 2004 in the first round and won 41-21. The next year they met in the second round at Jackson with the Fighting Tigers winning 21-7. The team played for a third straight time in 2006 in a first round game at Westfall and the Mustangs outlasted Ironton 42-35.
Here is a quick recap of the previous meetings:
Ironton 41, Westfall 21
IRONTON — Ironton led 21-14 at the half as Westfall stayed close with a controlled passing game. But a defensive adjustment by Ironton coach Bob Lutz at halftime took away the short routes and Ironton used its ground game to pound away.
The Fighting Tigers rushed 63 times for 389 yards. Jared Murphy ran 24 times for 143 yards, Darius Lewis had 16 carries for 110 yards, and Marcus Williams had 79 yards on 10 attempts.
Westfall had only 54 yards rushing as quarterback Wade Bartholomew was 17-of-31 for 163 yards and two interceptions.
Ironton 21, Westfall 7
JACKSON — The often-maligned Ironton secondary was more than up to the challenge of the passing attack of the Mustangs and quarterback Kevin Smith.
The Fighting Tigers intercepted four passes and did not have a turnover themselves as they shut down the Westfall explosive offense.
Ironton scored twice in the second quarter to lead 14-0 at the half.
Quarterback Chad Miller’s 2-yard run capped a 61-yard, 10-play drive and he later hit Brandon Walker with a 50-yard scoring pass.
Westfall cut the deficit to 14-7 early in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard run by Smith, but Ironton got an insurance touchdown with 8:25 left when backup quarterback Drew Kuehne converted a 57-yard pass-and-run play to Miller who had moved to wide receiver.
Westfall ran 61 plays to Ironton’s 44, but 40 of the Fighting Tigers’ play came on the ground. Ironton was 2-of-4 passing for 96 yards. Smith was 12-of-31 for 114 yards.
Westfall 42, Ironton 35
WILLIAMSPORT — The two teams combined for 764 total yards and a wild finish.
After a scoreless first quarter, Westfall took a 7-0 lead on a 3-yard pass from Kevin Smith to Jack Gose.
Ironton answered with a 60-yard catch-and-run flat pass to Marc Carter and Chad Miller added a 6-yard scoring run for a 14-7 lead.
Smtih threw a 29-yard TD pass to Seth Hardin, but Andy Colegrove blocked a punt and T.J. Keith returned it 10 yards for a touchdown and Ironton lead 21-14 with 51 seconds left in the half.
Miller got loose on a 56-yard touchdown run to start the second half, but Smith answered with scoring runs of 4 and 12 yards to tie the game.
Tony Murphy powered his way through the defense for a 5-yard scoring run to put Ironton up 35-28 with 8:46 to play.
Gose caught a 31-yard TD pass to tie the game, and after an Ironton punt Westfall went 60 yards in six plays for the winning score. Smith carried four times in the drive before throwing a 29-yard strike on a post pattern to Gose with 45 seconds to play.
Ironton got to the Westfall 38, but a third down pass into the end zone was intercepted with three seconds to play.