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Ironton rallies in final seconds to beat Oak Hill

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ receiver Joe Bowling (80) goes up in the air over an Oak Hill defensive back to snag the winning touchdown pass from Tristan Cox with 25 seconds to play. The score gave Ironton a 20-14 win over Oak Hill on Friday. (Courtesy of Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties in Ironton)

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ receiver Joe Bowling (80) goes up in the air over an Oak Hill defensive back to snag the winning touchdown pass from Tristan Cox with 25 seconds to play. The score gave Ironton a 20-14 win over Oak Hill on Friday. (Courtesy of Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties in Ironton)

Jim Walker



With Ironton’s playoff hopes fading, the Fighting Tigers decided to just go with the fade.

Fade right, that is.

A Tristan Cox to Joe Bowling fade route with 25.4 seconds to play gave Ironton a 20-14 win over the Oak Hill Oaks Friday and kept Ironton in the playoff hunt.

Ironton had tied the game with 5:59 to go and got the ball back with just 56 seconds left.

The Fighting Tigers then went 65 yards in four plays keyed by Cox’s 47-yard run on the second play.

“I didn’t really see it until I broke through the line. The line made a couple of good blocks for me. I just found the seam and got up in it,” said Cox.

After an incomplete pass, Cox threw to Bowling who made a leaping catch in the right corner of the end zone.

“It was fade right, (Cox) led it and you just have to go up and get it. You just have to be strong and go up and get it,” said Bowling. “We just got to keep driving, our line was clicking and blocking everybody, we just got to keep going and finish it.”

Cox gave all the credit to Bowling.

“He ran a good route. I put the ball out there to him and he made a good catch,” said Cox.

Ironton trailed 14-6 after Oak Hill scored on an 8-yard pass from Garrin Stiltner to Jordon Fisher with 2:06 left in the third quarter. Stiltner threw to Chris Coy for the conversion and the lead.

But Ironton answered with a 68-yard, 19-play drive capped by D’Angelo Palladino’s 3-yard run with 5:59 to play. Cox threw to Palladino for the conversion and the game was tied at 14.

“We’ve been up and down all year and we’ve been on a losing streak against some good teams, but we didn’t fold our tents. That’s one thing about them,” said Vass.

“I’m just happy with their effort and the way they hung in there, being down in the fourth quarter and coming out with a victory. That was a big win for us. We needed it and we got it.”

Ironton is now 3-6 and vaulted from No. 12 in the Region 17 Division V computer ratings to No. 8. The top eight teams qualify for the postseason.

Oak Hill (7-2) is seventh in Region 21 of Division VI and needs to beat Green next week to clinch a playoff spot.

Ironton had 298 total yards with 262 coming on the ground. Palladino had 146 yards on 28 carries and Cox 72 yards on 11 attempts.

Ironton’s defense limited the Oaks to 193 total yards including 66 on the ground. Vass praised the defense that was aided by the return of injured linebackers Jeremy Bodmer and Desmond Young.

“The defense played real well all night for the most part. We put them in field position a couple of times when they scored, but our defense stepped up. We had a couple of kids back at the linebacker position that helped us out,” said Vass.

“I was pretty impressed with Oak Hill. They were a sound ball club like we thought they were coming in, but I thought they played real well.”

Ironton forced a fumble on the second play of the game and then went 39 yards in 12 plays to take a 6-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Cox.

Oak Hill scored just before the half with the aid of a 15-yard penalty on Ironton. A key 16-yard pass from Stiltner to Elijah Starr gave the Oaks a first down at the 2-yard line. Stiltner scored two plays later to tie the game with 13 seconds left in the half.

The Oaks caught a break in the third quarter when Ironton dropped a fourth down pass that would have given them a first down.

With the ball at the Ironton 36, Coy ran 21 yards to the 15 and a personal foul on Ironton put the ball at the 7. The Oaks had a 5-yard penalty that put the ball on the 12 and a third down pass was incomplete but Ironton was called for pass interference in the end zone on a questionable call.

The ball went to the 6 but Stiltner was stopped for a 2-yard loss. On fourth down, Stitlner hit Fisher with the go-ahead touchdown pass.

After Ironton tied the game, Oak Hill used a 20-yard pass for Fisher and another 15-yard penalty on the Fighting Tigers to reach the 28.

A fourth down pass fell incomplete, but Fisher stumbled and fell on the play and Ironton was called for holding give the Oaks a first down.

However, the defense held and the Oaks turned the ball over on downs at the 35 to set up Ironton’s winning drive.

Oak Hill 0 6 8 0 = 14

Ironton 6 0 0 14 = 20

First Quarter

Irn — Tristan Cox 1 run (run failed) 5:19

Second Quarter

OH — Garrin Stiltner 1 run (pass fail) 0:13

Third Quarter

OH — Jordon Fisher 8 pass from Garrin Stiltner (Chris Coy pass from Stiltner) 2:06

Fourth Quarter

Irn — D’Angelo Palladino 3 run (Palladino pass from Tristan Cox) 5:59

Irn — Joe Bowling 11 pass from Tristan Cox (pass failed) 0:25


OH Irn

First downs 14 17

Rushes-yards 28-66 52-262

Yards passing 127 36

Total yards 193 298

Cmp-Att-Int 13-31-1 4-10-2

Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1

Penalties-yards 11-83 9-108

Punts-average 4-34.3 2-23.0


Individual Leaders

RUSHING—Oak Hill: Chris Coy 12-43, Willy Harris 5-14, Garrin Stiltner 10-8, Mason Waugh 1-1; Ironton: D’Angelo Palladino 28-146, Desmond Young 8-28, Tristan Cox 11-72, Jeremy Bodmer 1-3, Derik Berry 3-7, Tanner Price 1-6.

PASSING—Oak Hill: Garrin Stiltner 13-31-1 127; Ironton: Tristan Cox 4-10-2 36.

RECEIVING—Oak Hill: Jordon Fisher 5-53, Elijah Starr 1-16 , Willy Harris 2-7, Jonathon Harrison 2-8, Cody Swann 1-17, Chris Burdine 2-26; Ironton: Joe Bowling 3-27, D’Angelo Palladino 1-9.