Too many mistakes too much for Ironton to overcome
If Ironton coach Mark Vass had seen the in-game forecast, he might have tried to weatherproof his young Fighting Tigers.
Fumbles, bad snaps, penalties, poor execution and missed assignments are all characteristics of a young and inexperienced team, and those characteristics poured down on Tanks Memorial Stadium Friday as the Ironton fell 49-12 to the Wheelersburg Pirates.
“Obviously, give them credit. They’re a good team,” said Vass. “But it was kind of a perfect storm the first half. We couldn’t do anything right. What did we have, four turnovers? We turned it over every possession basically the first half.”
The Pirates drove 74 yards in 11 plays to start the game and scored on a third-and-goal play as Eddie Miller hit Dylan Miller with a 6-yard pass.
Ironton then fumbled the ball back to the Pirates on the first play from scrimmage at their own 16-yard line. Two plays later Wheelersburg scored on a 20-yard pass from Eddie Miller to Cameron Parsley, who caught the short square out, turned and ran into the end zone.
Eddie Miller hit 11 of 15 passes for 212 yards and four scores. The key to the passing game was the yards after the catch as Pirate receivers turned the short-range passing game into big gains.
Dylan Miller had five catches for 119 yards including a 72-yard scoring play. Tyler Claxon had three catches for 55 yards and Parsley two grabs for 38 yards.
The Pirates finished with 386 total yards including 152 on the ground.
“They brought it to us, but we didn’t back down. They’re a tough team to stop. We knew that going in. They were a handful on offense,” said Vass.
Ironton finished with 160 total yards with 101 coming on the ground. The key was three lost fumbles, an interception and 10 penalties for 86 yards.
Trailing 14-0, Ironton picked up a couple of first downs but then fumbled the ball away at the 45. A 35-yard pass to Tyler Claxon led to Eddie Miller’s 4-yard scoring run and it was 21-0.
Jake Long electrified the crowd with a 97-yard kickoff return to get Ironton within 21-6, but the Pirates answered on their next play from scrimmage on a pass and run touchdown pass from Miller to Miller covering 72 yards.
“Our guy is right there in position but just let him run behind him. You can’t let him run behind you,” said Vass.
The Pirates then pooch kicked and recovered at the Ironton 37. Four plays later, Eddie Miller hit Claxon with a 10-yard scoring toss and had a 35-6 lead to end the quarter.
Wheelersburg went 62 yards in four plays to score on an Eddie Miller 11-yard run with 7:04 left in the half.
The Pirates capped their scoring when Austin May returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown as time expired and it was 49-6 at the break.
Ironton came out the second half and recovered the onside pooch kickoff at their own 42. The Fighting Tigers proceeded to march to the 5-yard line on six running plays and a 25-yard pass to Joe Bowling from Tristan Cox against the Pirates’ first team defense.
But the drive stalled and Ironton turned the ball over on downs.
Ironton’s second unit drove 68 yards in 12 plays for a score in the fourth quarter. A 15-yard run by Tanner Price and an 18-yard pass from Jacob Isaac to Troy Rust on fourth down set up Isaac’s 2-yard touchdown run with 3:23 to play.
“I didn’t think the kids quit. It was more execution than I thought fight tonight,” said Vass. “Obviously, they were ready and we weren’t. It’s as simple as that. (Ironton) has just got to get better. That’s what I told them. We have to stick together and get back to work. That’s all we can do.”
Wheelersburg 35 14 0 0 = 49
Ironton 6 0 0 6 = 12
Wh — Dylan Miller 6 pass from Eddie Miller (kick failed) 7:54
Wh — Cameron Parsley 20 pass from Eddie Miller (Dylan Miller pass from Eddie Miller) 7:01
Wh — Eddie Miller 4 run (Daylor Lewis kick) 4:21
Irn — Jake Long 97 kickoff return (kick blocked) 4:06
Wh — Dylan Miller 72 pass from Eddie Miller (Daylor Lewis kick) 3:43
Wh — Tyler Claxon 10 pass from Eddie Miller (Daylor Lewis kick) 2:31
Wh — Eddie Miller 11 run (Daylon Lewis kick) 7:04
Wh — Austin May 61 interception return (Daylon Lewis kick) 0:00
Irn — Jacob Isaac 2 run (pass failed) 3:23
First downs 17 7
Rushes-yards 25-152 34-101
Passing yards 234 59
Total yards 386 160
Cmp-Att-Int 13-18-0 6-17-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 5-3
Penalties-yards 7-70 10-86
Punts-average 2-26.0 2-31.5
RUSHING—Wheelersburg: Eddie Miller 7-48, Cameron Parsley 3-42, Micah McAlister 7-37, Tristan Browning 5-16, Kyle Davis 2-0. Ironton: Derik Berry 4-22, Tanner Price 5-21, Desmond Young 7-21, Jeremy Bodmer 5-10, Tristan Cox 5-12, Trevor Easterling 2-5, Troy Rust 2-5, Jake Long 2-3, Jacob Isaac 1-2, Isaiah Brickey-Scott 1-0.
PASSING—Wheelersburg: Eddie Miller 11-15-0 212, Kyle Davis 1-1-0 16, Austin May 1-2-0 6. Ironton: Tristan Cox 5-15-1 41, Jacob Isaac 1-2-0 18.
RECEIVING—Wheelersburg: Cameron Parsley 2-38, Tyler Claxon 3-55, Dylan Miller 5-119, Austin May 1-0, Andrew Conn 1-6, Cole Cunningham 1-16. Ironton: Joe Bowling 2-34, Troy Rust 1-18, Desmond Young 1-9, Jake Long 2-minus 2.