It’s All Tied Up
Win No. 360 was nice, but it couldn’t hold a candle to win No. 6.
Ironton’s 50-28 win over the Portsmouth Trojans Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium enabled Fighting Tigers’ head coach Bob Lutz to tie the Ohio high school record for most career coaching wins.
But Lutz was more concerned with just beating the Trojans and their quick-strike capabilities.
“I don’t want to detract from our team. We want to make the playoffs and this win was huge. It was our sixth win and it gives us a chance to host a playoff game if we keep winning,” said Lutz.
“We have to stay focused on what we’re doing. Your biggest game is the next game you play and our biggest game now is Nelsonville-York.”
Ironton improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League. The win moved Ironton to second in the computer ratings of Region 15 in Division IV.
Nelsonville-York visits Ironton next Friday. A win would not only make Lutz the winningest coach in Ohio history, but would lock up a home playoff game.
Friday’s game matched Ironton’s smash-mouth running game against the speedy Trojans who used some big plays to keep the game interesting in the second half after the Fighting Tigers built a 28-6 halftime cushion.
Ironton amassed 316 yards on the ground with Keith Wetzel getting 110 yards on 15 carries and J.P. Taylor rushed 15 times for 106 yards.
‘Our running game was like it is every game. All around out line did well,” said Taylor. “We noticed they were burying their tackles so we were able to bounce it outside when they did that.”
Portsmouth (5-3, 3-2) struggled much of the game but got two long pass plays to help generate 250 total yards for the game. Quarterback Josh Myers was 8-of-18 passing for 124 yards and ran 14 times for 59 yards.
“We thought we were better than them up front but we couldn’t pull away from them. They’re quarterback is a good athlete and he made some plays and we had our hands full,” said Lutz.
Ironton got its own special teams’ score when Tres Wilks returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. It was his fourth punt return for a score this season.
The Fighting Tigers began a 55-yard, 6-play drive in the first quarter that ended at the 10:51 mark of the second quarter on a 27-yard jaunt by Brian Warner to make it 14-0.
Portsmouth finally got a big play on a catch-and-run by Kyle Simpson for 49 yards to the 1-yard line. The Trojans scored on a 6-yard pass from Myers to London Malone and it was 14-6.
“(The defensive back) went for the interception and missed it and then we missed the tackle. We talked all week about covering and making tackles in the open field,” said Lutz.
“We had a bunch of balls we should have picked. The two touchdown passes were against our best cover guy. (Myers) just put it on the money.”
A 31-yard run by Taylor helped set up a 1-yard scoring run by Ethan Preston with two minutes left and it was 21-6.
Ironton forced a punt and got the ball back at the Trojans’ 44 with 38 seconds left. Preston threw to Ryan Sias who jumped against a defensive back and had the ball pop in the air. But Sias stayed focused, grabbed the ball and turned his first career reception into a touchdown pass and 28-6 lead.
Myers and Simpson hooked up on a 47-yard scoring pass with 7:40 left in the third quarter, but Ironton answered with a 20-yard TD run by Taylor to cap a 61-yard, 8-play drive and it was 35-14.
Jonathan Royster made the celebration short-lived as he returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a score and it was 35-20.
Ironton came right back with a 59-yard, 7-play scoring march that culminated on Wetzel’s 3-yard run and it was 42-20.
Big runs by Myers and Angelo Jackson got Portsmouth deep in Ironton territory. On fourth-and-17 at the Ironton 18, Myers hit Malone with a scoring strike and it was 42-28.
Not to worry. Ironton went 60 yards again in 10 plays ending with Wetzel’s 11-yard run.
Portsmouth 0 6 14 8 = 28
Ironton 7 21 14 8 = 50
Irn — Tres Wilks 70 punt return (Keith Wetzel kick) 5:16
Irn — Brian Warner 27 run (Keith Wetzel kick) 10:51
Prt — London Malone 6 pass from Josh Myers (kick failed) 3:50
Irn — Ethan Preston 1 run (Keith Wetzel kick) 2:00
Irn — Ryan Sias 44 pass from Ethan Preston (Keith Wetzel kick) 0:25
Prt — Kyle Simpson 47 pass from Josh Myers (Myers run) 7:40
Irn — J.P. Taylor 20 run (Keith Wetzel kick) 3:43
Prt — Jonathan Royster 89 kickoff return (kick failed) 3:20
Irn — Keith Wetzel 3 run (Wetzel kick) 1:07
Prt — London Malone 18 pass from Josh Myers (Collin Staker pass from Myers) 9:15
Irn — Keith Wetzel 11 run (Ethan Preston run) 3:31
First downs 10 18
Rushes-yards 27-126 54-316
Passing yards 124 61
Total yards 250 377
Cmp-Att-Int 8-18-1 2-3-0
Fumbles-lost 3-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-37 3-25
Punts-average 6-26.8 2-33.0
RUSHING—Portsmouth: Josh Myers 14-59, Angelo Jackson 8-52, Jonathan Royster 3-7, London Malone 1-6, Jalen Kennedy 1-2. Ironton: Keith Wetzel 15-110, J.P. Taylor 15-106, Brian Warner 9-48, Tres Wilks 6-28, Ethan Preston 6-12,Leron Beach 2-11, Michael Lawless 1-1.
PASSING—Portsmouth: Josh Myers 8-18-1 124. Ironton: Ethan Preston 2-2-0 61, J.P. Taylor 0-1-0.
RECEIVING—Portsmouth: Kyle Simpson 3-102, London Malone 2-22, Jonathan Royster 3-0. Ironton: Ryan Sias 1-44, Jon Monnig 1-17.
MISSED FIELD GOALS: None.