IRONTON — Win No. 361 looked an awful lot like the 360 that came before it.
Two running teams clashed at Tanks Memorial Stadium on Friday and it was the Ironton Fighting Tigers who won the ground battle as they beat the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes 32-12 to give coach Bob Lutz win No. 361 and make him the all-time leader in coaching wins for Ohio high school football.
“It was back to power football,” said Lutz.
Ironton rolled up 298 total yards — all on the ground — with 163 coming in the second half. Nelsonville-York had just 114 yards on the ground and 107 through the air. The Buckeyes standout running back Derek Arnold finished with 87 yards on 24 carries.
“That’s less than four yards a carry. We did a good job on him,” said Lutz.
Lutz is now 361-82-5 in his 40th season. He passed Terry Malone who coached at Hamilton Catholic-Badin and retired with an impressive 360-117-8 record.
“I’m glad it’s over,” said Lutz who was honored with a post-game ceremony filled with fireworks, a visit by Malone’s daughter Kathy and the renaming of the field in his honor.
“He’s one of the classiest, best football coaches. If there was a record to break, it was his because he’s a classy individual.”
Ironton (7-2) scored on its first possession with a 62-yard, nine-play drive capped by J.P. Taylor’s 1-yard run.
Tres Wilks leaped a N-Y defender and ran 70 yards for a touchdown to put the Ironton lead at 13-0 with 9:31 left in the half.
“If he would have stood up, I would have been hurt,” Wilks said about his hurdling of the Buckeyes defensive back.
Nelsonville-York (7-2) got a break on its next series.
A bobbled snap on a punt caused punter Isaiah Andrews to run with the ball and he was tackled for a 3-yard loss at the Buckeyes’ 43. But a horse collar penalty on Ironton gave N-Y a first down at the Ironton 41.
A 17-yard pass to Jay Stump got the ball to the 24 and seven plays later Derek Arnold scored on a 4-yard run with 2:36 left in the half and it was 13-6.
The Fighting Tigers went 54 yards in six plays to score on their second possession of the third quarter. Ethan Preston ran 14 yards on a keeper for the touchdown and Keith Wetzel’s conversion kick make it 20-6 at the 5:19 mark.
“They were just guessing with us. It causes you to do things you normally don’t do on first down. You can’t be afraid to run the same play two or three times in a row,” said Lutz.
Ironton had a drive begin at the 45-yard line in the third quarter that spilled over into the fourth quarter. On an option to the left, Preston was hit and fumbled the ball, but Wilks picked up the ball, cut back to his right and ran 28 yards for a touchdown to make it 26-6 with 11:43 left.
“It was supposed to be an option. (Preston) got hit and fumbled and I picked it up and ran. I was thinking about diving on the ball, but there was nobody on the other side of the field.”
Wilks got a huge block from Erin Edens just as he began his cutback move that enabled the junior running back to break into the open field.
“I just tried to throw my body into it. There were about six guys there,” said Edens.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Buckeyes went 65-yard in 11 plays to score when Nathan Dean found Stump open on a flea-flicker pass play that covered 37 yards and cut the Ironton lead to 26-12.
But the Fighting Tigers sealed the win as they drove 51 yards in eight plays to score on a 1-yard run by Wetzel with 4:24 to play.
The win virtually clinches second place in Region 15 of Division IV computer playoff ratings and will give Ironton a home field game in the first round.
Nelsonville 0 6 0 6 = 12
Ironton 7 6 7 12 = 32
Irn — J.P. Taylor 7 run (Keith Wetzel kick) 4:55
Irn — Tres Wilks 70 run (kick failed) 9:31
NY — Derek Arnold 4 run (kick failed) 2:36
Irn — Ethan Preston 14 run (Keith Wetzel kick) 5:19
Irn — Tres Wilks 28 run (run failed) 11:43
NY — Jay Stump 37 pass from Nathan Dean (pass failed) 7:50
Irn — Keith Wetzel 1 run (run failed) 4:24
First downs 12 17
Rushes-yards 43-114 41-298
Passing yards 107 0
Total yards 221 298
Cmp-Att-Int 11-16-1 1-4-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penatlies-yards 6-49 2-20
Punts-average 2-29.5 1-42.0
RUSHING—Nelsonville: Derek Arnold 24-87, Justin Cunningham 11-41, Nathan Dean 5-minus 13, Isaiah Andrews 3-minus 1. Ironton: Tres Wilks 3-100, Keith Wetzel 13-68, J.P. Taylor 12-44, Brian Warner 6-38, Ethan Preston 5-38, Codey Jones 1-4, Leron Beach 1-6.
PASSING—Nelsonville: Nathan Dean 11-16-1 107. Ironton: Ethan Preston 1-4-0 0.
RECEIVING—Nelsonville: Jay Stump 4-70, Jared Dexter 4-18, Justin Cunningham 3-15, Isaiah Andrews 1-4. Ironton: J.P. Taylor 1-0.