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Power Play

That’s what you get for waking up in Tanks Stadium.

If Katy Perry thinks she had problems waking up in Vegas, she should talk to the Wheelersburg Pirates who got a wake-up call at Tanks Memorial Stadium from the Ironton Fighting Tigers to open the season Friday.

Ironton used its smash-mouth, ball-control offense to pound away at the Wheelersburg defense and notch a 24-8 win.

“That was a good win for us,” said Ironton coach Bob Lutz. “We wanted to control the line of scrimmage and for the most part we did that.”

Even Wheelersburg’s attempts to fill the interior line of scrimmage and stunt different holes didn’t have a lasting effect.

“We adjusted pretty well. Everybody helped out,” said Ironton senior tackle Sam Cramblit.

“Jon (Monnig) did a nice job and Erin (Edens) came in and did well. Basically we kept them out of the box.”

Ironton controlled the ball by rushing 53 times for 294 yards. J.P. Taylor led a balanced running game with 14 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown. Fullback Keith Wetzel had 25 carries for 85 yards and a score while Brian Warner got 86 yards on seven attempts including the game’s first score on a 64-yard jaunt.

Quarterback Ethan Preston was 4-of-5 passing for 42 yards and a 13-yard touchdown toss to Jon Monnig. Ironton racked up 336 total yards

The defense held Wheelersburg to just three first downs the first half and seven for the game, The Pirates had 174 total yards but only 61 in the first half.

“We knew they had good speed so we knew we had to contain them. We did a pretty good job for the most part. I thought we let up a little at the end after we went up by four touchdowns.”

After stopping Wheelersburg on a three-and-out to start the game, it took only two plays for Ironton to take the lead.

On second and 7, Warner broke a couple of tackles and bolted 64 yards for a touchdown at the 9:19 mark and it was 6-0.

“Ironton got off to a really good start and obviously we didn’t,” said Pirates’ coach Rob Woodward. “We weren’t able to establish any kind of rhythm offensively at all. They were able to. We had a lot of missed tackles and that was the ball game.”

Wheelersburg went three-and-out again and Ironton put together a 55-yard, 12-play drive to the 5-yard line, but the Pirates’ defense stopped Ironton a yard shy of a first down.

Another punt gave Ironton the ball at the Wheelersburg 43. A penalty moved the ball back to midfield, but Ironton still managed to capitalize with a nine-play drive capped by Wetzel’s 4-yard touchdown run and it was 12-0 with 7:51 left in the half.

Ironton drove from its 27 to the Pirates’ 49 before the drive stalled, but Zach Kriebel came up with a big play as he intercepted a Tyler Lang pass and Ironton had the ball at the Pirates’ 20.

Three plays later Preston hit Monnig with a 13-yard scoring strike and it was 18-0 just before the half.

“We wanted to stop their sweeps and throwing the ball and we were able to do that most of the game,” said Kriebel who plays nose guard and drops off as an outside linebacker.

The Fighting Tigers came out the second half and drove 76 yards in 10 plays to score on a 5-yard run by Taylor. It was Taylor’s 41-yard scamper that highlighted the drive and got the ball to the Pirates’ 21.

Wheelersburg finally put together a scoring drive in the fourth quarter as they shifted to the shotgun formation and began strictly utilizing Brandon Schankweiler and Lang.

The 10-play drive ended on a 5-yard run by Lang with 7:47 to go. He also ran for the conversion.

“I looked out there and we were missing a tackle. He came over to the sidelines and didn’t tell anyone. They ran two plays and we only had 10 men on the field,” said Lutz.

Wheelersburg forced a punt, but Ironton’s defense held on a fourth-and-2 with 4:15 left and ran out the clock.

Wheelersburg 0 0 0 8 = 8

Ironton 6 12 6 0 = 24

First Quarter

Irn – Brian Warner 64 run (kick blocked) 9:19

Second Quarter

Irn – Keith Wetzel 4 run (run failed) 7:51

Irn – Jon Monnig 13 pass from Ethan Preston (run failed) 0:39

Third Quarter

Irn – J.P. Taylor 5 run (kick failed) 7:25

Fourth Quarter

Wh – Tyler Lang 5 run (Lang run) 7:47

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Wh Irn

First Downs 7 15

Rushes-yards 33-126 53-294

Passing yards 48 42

Total yards 174 336

Cmp-Att-Int 4-8-1 4-5-0

Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0

Punts-average 5-39.2 4-34.5

Penalties-yards 1-1 1-0

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING—Wheelersburg: Tyler Craigmiles 3-29, Scott Walker 5-15, Brandon Schankweiler 12-43, Tyler Lang 10-34, C.J. Adkins 2-5; Ironton: J.P. Taylor 14-89, Brian Warner 7-86, Keith Wetzel 25-85, Ethan Preston 7-334

PASSING—Wheelersburg: Tyler Lang 2-6-1 18, Brandon Schankweiler 2-2-0 30; Ironton: Ethan Preston 4-5-0 42.

RECEIVING—Wheelersburg: Tyler Craigmiles 3-21, Andy Steegman 1-27; Ironton: Jon Monnig 2-28, Brian Warner 2-14.