Ironton knocks off Martins Ferry, 26-13
If playing Martins Ferry wasn’t tough enough, the Ironton Fighting Tigers faced added adversity.
Ironton loss fullback and linebacker Desmond Young with an injury just before halftime, and two-way tackle Isaac Sherman — the team’s best lineman — suffered a dislocated ankle midway through the third quarter.
Fortunately, Ironton had built a comfortable 26-7 halftime lead and coasted to a 26-13 win over the Purple Riders Saturday night in the Division V Region 17 quarterfinals.
“The first half we controlled them pretty well and made some big plays,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass. “Desmond (Young) had the big interception and (Joe) Bowling made the big catch.
“(Sherman’s injury) took some wind out of our sails. It was shocking for the kids, but they handled it well. Sherman is the rock of our offensive line and to lose Desmond, took a little out of us.”
Ironton (8-2) will now play Wheelersburg next Saturday at 7 p.m., probably at Jackson.
The Fighting Tigers finished with 214 total yards — 170 on the ground. D’Angelo Palladino and Young each ran for 58 yards and Joe Bowling caught both Ironton passes for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Young ran for three touchdowns and a conversion.
Arjay Burress ran 20 times for 132 yards to lead Martins Ferry (9-2).
The Purple Riders finished with 199 yards rushing and 356 total yards, but only 139 yards came in the first half and 60 yards were on one run by Burress.
Riders’ quarterback James Edwards was 13 of 28 for 157 yards but was intercepted three times. He had just 86 yards passing until Martins Ferry’s final possession when he was 6 of 11 for 71 yards.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage pretty well. They were bringing a lot of people. Our backs did a good job protecting the ball and blocking,” said Vass.
“We got the lead and our defense stepped up and played pretty well and made them earn it.”
Ironton took the opening kickoff and drove 72 yards in 11 plays capped by Young’s 1-yard run and it was 6-0.
Martins Ferry went to the air on its first play but the pass didn’t surprise the Ironton secondary as Richard Crockrel picked off the pass at the Riders’ 43.
The Fighting Tigers couldn’t move the ball and the teams exchanged punts and Ironton went 67 yards in 11 plays as Young scored on his second 1-yard run for a 12-0 lead.
The key play in the drive was an 18-yard pass from Tristan Cox to Bowling who virtually took the ball from the defensive back.
“(The defensive back) brought it down and I took it. He was juggling it,” said Bowling.
Martins Ferry used a 29-yard pass to Jack Fitch to get to the Ironton 26, but Young picked off a pass and returned it 39 yards to the Riders’ 31.
Six plays later on a fourth and 19, Cox threw a pass that Bowling caught despite pass interference.
“Tristan threw it up for me to go get it. I stopped and the defensive back stopped and grabbed me but I was able to make the catch,” said Bowling.
Martins Ferry got with 20-7 on a 60-yard touchdown run by Burress, but Palladino returned the ensuing kickoff 78yards to the Riders’ 6-yard line — Bowling had a key block in the return — and Young scored on the next play.
Young ran for the conversion and it was 26-7 with 1:26 left in the half. Young was injured on the play.
Neither team threatened until the fourth quarter when Ironton stopped the Riders at the 15-yard line.
Burress had a 3-yard scoring run with 4:15 to play that capped the scoring. Ironton then played a prevent defense the final series and Hunter Weber’s interception on the final play of the game inside the 5-yard line ended the game.
Martins Ferry 0 7 0 6 = 13
Ironton 6 20 0 0 = 26
Irn — Desmond Young 1 run (kick blocked) 6:57
Irn — Desmond Young 1 run (kick blocked) 8:32
Irn — Joe Bowling 26 pass from Tristan Cox (Desmond Young run) 2:10
MF — Arjay Burress 60 run (Marc Haesen kick) 1:49
Irn — Desmond Young 6 run (run failed) 1:26
MF — Arjay Burress 3 run (kick failed) 4:15
First downs 16 12
Rushes-yards 36-199 45-170
Passing yards 157 44
Total yards 356 214
Cmp-Att-Int 13-28-3 2-4-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-51 8-55
Punts-average 3-40.7 5-40.4
RUSHING —Martins Ferry: Arjay Burress 20-132, Bruce Burger 6-47, Bryce Coleman 6-39, Jack Fitch 1-4, Andrew Hython 2-minus 1, James Edwards 1-minus 22; Ironton: D’Angelo Palladino 18-58, Desmond Young 10-58, Tanner Price 4-17, Andrew Barker 4-14, Tristan Cox 7-13, Jeremy Bodmer 1-5, Caleb McKnight 1-5.
PASSING — Martins Ferry: James Edwards 13-28-3 157; Ironton: Tristan Cox 1-3-0 26 TD, D’Angelo Palladino 1-1-0 18.
RECEIVING — Martins Ferry: Jake Barritt 10-83, Jack Fitch 3-62, Matt Barbour 2-10, Bryce Coleman 1-2; Ironton: Joe Bowling 2-44 TD.
MISSED FIELD GOALS: None.