Ironton holds off Gallipolis
Legendary coach Vince Lombardi loved to tell his players, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Lombardi’s word echoed throughout the Ironton locker room at halftime on Friday when the Fighting Tigers found themselves trailing 7-0.
Ironton came out the third quarter and scored twice and then needed a big defensive play on a two-point conversion to hold off the Gallipolis Blue Devils 14-13.
“We told them they have to come ready to play every Friday. Instead we came out flat and back on our heals,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass.
“But I was proud of the way we fought back in the second half. We made a few adjustments, but for the most part we just gutted it out.”
The Fighting Tigers came out the second half and went 65 yards in eight plays with Patrick Lewis scoring on a 5-yard run with 9:14 on the clock. Jalen Schweickart kicked the conversion to tie the game.
After an exchange of possessions, the Blue Devils punted and Lewis returned the kick 60 yards for a touchdown. Schweickart’s kick put Ironton up 14-7 with 53 seconds on the clock.
Neither team threatened the rest of the game and a big hit by Ironton defensive end Aaron Stephens on third down dropped Gallipolis quarterback Wade Jarrell for a 4-yard loss set up the pivotal fourth down.
Jarrell was hurried and threw an incompletion and Ironton had the ball at its own 48 with 2:16 left.
Ironton began to run out the clock, but two plays later the Blue Devils recovered the fumble to set up the thrilling finish.
Jarrell hit Nick Clagg with back-to-back passes covering 22 and 17 yards to the Ironton 13. On fourth and 3 at the 6, Jarrell scrambled back and forth until he finally spotted Clagg running across the back of the end zone and hit him for the touchdown with 30 seconds left.
The Blue Devils opted to go for the win, but Jarrell was pressured and threw and incomplete pass in the middle of the end zone.
“They came out ready to play and we came out flat. The second half we came out ready to play and fought through adversity and played as a team,” said Stephens. “When you play as a team you win as a team.”
Ironton recovered the onside kickoff, took a knee and the game ended.
Gallipolis (1-2) took the opening kickoff and drove to the Ironton 14 but was held on downs and Dylan Saunders missed a 33-yard field goal attempt that hit the left upright and bounced back onto the field.
After a three-and-out by Ironton, Ty Warnimont ran 59 yards to the Ironton 3 and Logan Allison scored on the next play. Saunders’ kick made it 7-0 with 1:51 on the clock.
Ironton (3-0) got to the Gallipolis 18 in the second quarter, but Brian Williams sacked Ironton quarterback Tanner Dutey on two straight plays and the drive stalled.
“They were very aggressive. We knew they would have everybody in the box, we just had to toughen up,” said Vass.
Ironton had 151 yards of total offense. Lewis ran 12 times for 87 yards and Dutey hit 5 of 9 passes for 60 more yards.
Gallipolis finished with 300 yards of offense with 196 on the ground and 104 through the air. The Blue Devils had 19 first downs to just seven for Ironton.
Gallipolis 7 0 0 6 = 13
Ironton 0 0 14 0 = 14
Ga — Logan Allison 3 run (Dylan Saunders kick) 1:51
Irn — Patrick Lewis 5 run (Jalen Schweickart kick) 9:14
Irn — Patrick Lewis 60 punt return (Jalen Schweickart kick) 0:53
Ga — Nick Clagg 6 pass from Wade Jarrell (pass failed) 0:30
First downs 19 7
Rushes-yards 44-196 30-91
Passing yards 104 60
Total yards 300 151
Cmp-Att-Int 11-23-0 5-9-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-yards 7-55 5-40
Punts-average 3-34.7 4-35.3
RUSHING—Gallipolis: Cody Russell 8-37, Ty Warnimont 2-60, Wade Jarrell 13-26, Luke Pullins 12-45, Logan Allison 4-15, Nick Clagg 5-13; Ironton: Patrick Lewis 12-87, Tanner Schweickart 6-12, Trevor White 7-16, Tanner Dutey 5-minus 24.
PASSING—Gallipolis: Wade Jarrell 11-23-0 104; Ironton: Tanner Dutey 5-9-0 60.
RECEIVING—Gallipolis: Nick Clagg 4-48, Cody Russell 4-39, Reid Eastman 2-13, Ty Warnimount 1-4; Ironton: Aaron Stephens 2-20, Patrick Lewis 1-11, Trevor White 1-19, Brandon Wilson 1-10.