Patient Ironton tops St. Charles
Patience is a virtue. It’s also a good way to beat a good opponent.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers were willing to use a plethora of short gains to control the ball and the clock as they rallied to beat the St. Charles Cardinals 25-24 on Friday.
Ironton (5-1) ran 71 plays to just 23 for St. Charles and led them in first downs 24-8.
“We saw what they were doing and we just had to be patient and take what they were giving us,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass.
“Our offensive line was the key. They controlled the line of scrimmage and our backs ran hard and blocked hard.”
Senior offensive tackle Isaac Sherman said everyone knew what they had to do and remained focused throughout the game.
“We had kind of a bad first half, but everyone knew his assignment and overall it was a great effort. We knew up front would be the difference,” said Sherman.
Center Brock Midkiff-Sands, guards Tyler Webb, Ronnie Artis and Zach Miller, tackles Hayden Robinson and Sherman along with ends Lucas Campbell and Joe Bowling helped Ironton rack up 395 yards rushing.
Leading the ground game was D’Angelo Palladino with 191 yards on 30 carries and he scored two touchdowns. Andrew Barker ran 17 times for 77 yards and a score. Tanner Price added 47 yards on seven carries and quarterback Tristan Cox had 39 yards rushing and threw for 22 yards.
“Their defensive backs (Jimmy Holtz and Otis Smith) did a nice job coming up and making tackles and keeping us from breaking big runs. There were several times it looked like we broke the plane clean and they made the tackle,” said Vass.
St. Charles (2-5) used big plays in the kicking game to keep the game close. The Cardinals were held to 89 yards rushing and 128 passing.
The first big play for St. Charles was on the opening kickoff when NiQuille Bell ran 68 yards to the Ironton 21. Two plays later Jacob Nowell ran 8 yards and it was 7-0.
Ironton answered with an 80-yard, 17-play drive that ate up 9:10 off the clock. Palladino ran 10 for the score and Luke Kelley’s kick tied the game at the 2:21 mark.
On the Cardinals’ next possession, they were faced with a third-and-long when Jacob Moehrman tossed a screen to Bell who broke several tackles behind the line of scrimmage and ran 50 yards to the Ironton 14.
But a quarterback sack by Caleb McKnight and Sherman on a third down pushed the ball back to the 23 and St. Charles settled for a 40-yard field goal by Will Groeber with 11:13 in the half.
After an exchange of punts, Ironton was backed up at the 3-yard line.
So, all the Fighting Tigers did was march the 97 yards in 15 plays with Desmond Young pounding over from 1-yard out and Ironton led 13-10 with just 32 seconds left in the half.
A pooch kickoff was recovered at the 49 and two plays later Moehrman found Smith behind the secondary for a 48-yard touchdown pass. Groeber’s conversion kick made it 17-13 with 17 seconds left on the clock.
“We made a lot of little mistakes that hurt us, especially in the first half. You can’t do that against a good team and expect to win. We were fortunate tonight because St. Charles is a good team,” said Vass.
A penalty helped stall Ironton’s first possession of the second half and an 8-yard punt gave St. Charles the ball at the Fighting Tigers’ 35.
Nowell bolted 35 yards on the next play and suddenly the lead was 24-13 with 8:28 to go in the third quarter.
“Field position killed us all night. We never got the ball on their side of the field and they only started on their side of the field twice the whole game,” said Vass.
The teams exchanged fumble recoveries and Ironton went 73 yards in six plays keyed by Palladino’s 52-yard run to the 14.
Barker scored three plays later on a 1-yard plunge and Ironton trailed 24-19 at the 2:41 mark.
A hard hit by Jeremy Bodmer caused a fumble and he recovered the ball at the Ironton 49. The Fighting Tigers then went the 51 yards in 10 plays as Palladino scored on a 5-yard run to give Ironton a 25-24 lead with 9:49 to play.
St. Charles drove to the Ironton 5, but a motion penalty and a holding penalty pushed the ball back to the 30.
The hold nullified a sack on the play by Campbell.
Faced with a fourth down, Groeber tried a 47-yard field goal that fell short with 4:47 to go.
Ironton then ran off 10 plays to end the game.
St. Charles 7 10 7 0 = 24
Ironton 7 6 6 6 = 25
SC — Jacob Nowell 8 run (Will Groeber kick) 11:31
Irn — D’Angelo Palladino 10 run (Luke Kelley kick) 2:21
SC — Will Groeber 40 field goal 11:13
Irn — Desmond Young 1 run (kick failed) 0:32
SC — Otis Smith 48 pass from Jacob Moehrman (Will Groeber kick) 0:17
SC — Jacob Nowell 35 run (Will Groeber kick) 8:28
Irn — Andrew Barker 1 run (run failed) 2:41
Irn — D’Angelo Palladino 5 run (run failed) 9:49
First downs 8 24
Rushes-yards 17-89 71-395
Passing yards 128 22
Total yards 217 417
Cmp-Att-Int 5-7-0 2-4-0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 6-51 5-49
Punts-average 1-45.0 2-13.0
RUSHING —St. Charles: Jacob Nowell 11-84, NiQuille Bell 2-7, Jacob Moehrman 1-minus 2; Ironton: D’Angelo Palladino 30-191, Andrew Barker 17-77, Tanner Price 7-47, Tristan Cox 6-39, Desmond Young 6-27, Jeremy Bodmer 3-16.
PASSING — St. Charles: Jacob Moehrman 5-7-0 128; Ironton: Tristan Cox 2-4-0 26.
RECEIVING — St. Charles: Otis Smith 4-78, NiQuille Bell 1-50; Ironton: Lucas Campbell 1-15, Tanner Price 1-7.