St. Charles pulls away to beat Ironton
COLUMBUS — There’s a reason they are called the “Fighting” Tigers.
The St. Charles Cardinals used a strong running game in the second half to pull away and win 38-14 over the stubborn Ironton Fighting Tigers Friday at Ohio Dominican University.
Despite injuries and the depth advantage of St. Charles, Ironton stayed close against the Division II school until the fourth quarter.
“I’m am proud of our kids. They battled hard the whole game,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass. “St. Charles has a good team and some good athletes. We hung in there, but they only had two players who went both ways and their depth just wore us down.”
St. Charles (5-2) led just 17-14 at the half with the help of a few breaks.
Ironton’s D’Angelo Palladino ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run that was called back on a penalty. The Cardinals also benefited from a fumble recovery at the Ironton 32 that led to the go-ahead touchdown.
Things started to go Ironton’s way on the first play as Palladino intercepted a pass. Hunter Weber then threw a 41-yard pass to Joe Bowling to the Cardinals’ 12-yard line and Tristan Cox hit Bowling with a 7-yard scoring strike three plays later for the score.
Hunter Klaiber’s conversion kick made it 7-0.
It took St. Charles just six plays to answer with NiQuille Bell running 9 yards for the touchdown and it was 7-7.
Ironton (2-5) then fumbled the ball away at their own 32 and Bell raced for the score on the ensuing play and it was 14-7.
St. Charles started a drive at their own 30-yard line and the drive lasted 15 plays as it spilled over into the second quarter.
Facing a fourth-and-goal at the 4, Will Groeber kicked a 21-yard field goal and it was 17-7 with 4:44 left in the half.
The Fighting Tigers drove to the Cardinals’ 26 only to have Otis Smith pick off a pass.
But Ironton returned the favor four plays later as Bowling stepped in front of a Ryan Bailey pass and ran it back 45 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 17-14 with 1:03 on the clock.
Ironton picked up a first down to start the second half but was forced to punt. Cox boomed a 66-yard kick and the Cardinals had the ball at their own 4-yard line.
That didn’t deter the Cardinals’ offense as they marched the length of the field in 15 plays capped by Bell’s third TD run from 5 yards out at the 1:22 mark for a 24-14 lead.
Ironton gambled on a fourth down at its own 34 early in the fourth quarter and failed to convert. Two plays later Bell scored from 16 yards out and it was 31-14 with 11:01 left.
The Fighting Tigers got to the Cardinals’ 34-yard line only to turn the ball over on downs late through the fourth quarter.
St. Charles then used an 11-play drive against Ironton’s second unit to score with 51 seconds to play on an 8-yard run by Jacob Nowell.
Ironton finished with 196 total yards with 72 coming on the ground and 124 through the air.
Cox was 9-of-19 for 83 yards and an interception. Palladino ran 21 times for 61 yards. Bowling caught six passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
The Cardinals racked up 424 total yards including 362 on the ground.
Bell ran 17 times for 150 yards and four touchdowns. Michael Hamrock ran 16 times for 99 yards.
The Fighting Tigers return to Columbus next Friday to play Bishop Hartley.