Beechwood pulls away from Ironton

Published 12:40 am Monday, September 14, 2015

Jim Walker


What you see is what you get.

There was nothing Ironton coach Mark Vass saw that surprised him after watching his Fighting Tigers’ upset bid fall short against the Beechwood Tigers.

Beechwood — the No. 1-ranked Class A team in Kentucky — got two second half touchdowns to open up some breathing room after leading just 21-19 at the half.

Beechwood quarterback Kyle Fieger was 8-of-12 passing for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Brett Slusher caught four passes for 101 yards and all three scores while Ethan Stringer ran 14 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

“They were a good team. They lived up to the billing that we watched on tape. They had a good quarterback, a good running back and they were good up front,” said Vass.

“They were a good offense. They were hard to stop over and over.”

Ironton was missing leading rusher D’Angelo Palladino but still managed 306 total yards.

Quarterback Jake Isaac had a big game as he ran 12 times for 82 yards including a touchdown and was 8-of-17 passing for 114 yards.

Andrew Barker ran 19 times for 57 yards and had three receptions for 50 yards. Desmond Young carried 13 times for 48 yards and two scores, and Lucas Campbell caught four passes for 58 yards.

“We hung with them. We were right there. Our offense stepped up. The offensive line especially. I thought we were coming off the ball much better and actually getting a push out of our T (formation),” said Vass.

“We tried to mix it up without having D’Angelo. It just comes down to kids making plays. We did make plays, but in tight games like this you just need more big plays.”

Beechwood (3-0) tookt he opening kickoff and went 67yards in eight plays capped by a 7-yard Kieger to Slusher pass. Mario German kicked the conversion.

Ironton then went on an 80-yard, 19-play drive that chewed up almost nine minutes. Young went the final yard and his conversion kick tied the game with 10:11 left in the half.

Beechwood was facing a third-and-8 at its own 42 when the key play of the game occurred.

Kieger threw into the flats while being chased by Campbell. An Ironton defensive back stepped in front of the pass and appeared to have a pick six.

But the ball bounced off his hands and fly several yards behind him where Slusher grab the ball and ran for the touchdown to complete a 58-yard play.

The potential two-touchdown swing left Beechwood up 14-7 with 8:46 in the half.

A short punt into the wind gave Beechwood the ball back at the Ironton 39. Fieger scrambled for 33 yards to the 6-yard line and Stringer scored on the next play for a 21-7 lead.

Ironton (0-3) answered three plays later when Isaac kept the ball and ran 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-13.

The defense forced a punt and Ironton got the ball back at the 46.

Isaac and Campbell hooked up on completions of 21 and 26 yards that set up Young’s 4-yard scoring run with 58 seconds left in the half and it was 21-19.

Ironton went three-and-out and Beechwood went 60 yards in six plays with a 26-yard Fieger-to-Slusher touchdown passes culminating the drive and it was 27-19.

Ironton drove from its 27 to the Beechwood 20, but a fourth-and-3 came up a yard short with 1:11 on the clock.

Ironton’s defense held and Beechwood appeared to be punting from the 26. But Slusher — who utilizes the rugby-style punt — took off running for a 19-yard game to the 45.

Two plays later Springer got loose on a 53-yard scoring run with 10:12 to play.

“Those were big plays,” said Vass of the tipped pass and fake punt.

“You’re in position to make some of those plays and then the fake punt we prepared for it all week. It’s a rugby style with an athlete and you just can’t give them the edge and we did. You can’t afford to give up big plays in a game like that and that’s what we did.”

Ironton visits Ashland, Ky., next Friday.

Beechwood 7 14 6 8 = 35

Ironton 0 19 0 0 = 19

First Quarter

Be — Brett Slusher 7 pass from Kyle Fieger (Mario German kick) 6:59

Second Quarter

Irn — Desmond Young 1 run (Desmond Young kick) 10:11

Be — Brett Slusher 58 pass from Kyle Fieger (Mario German kick) 8:46

Be — Ethan Stringer 6 run (Mario German kick) 7:15

Irn — Jake Isaac 80 run (kick failed) 5:40

Irn — Demond Young 4 run (pass failed) 0:58

Third Quarter

Be — Brett Slusher 26 pass from Kyle Kieger (kick failed) 7:13

Fourth Quarter

Be — Ethan Stringer 53 run (Brett Slusher pass from Kyle Fieger) 10:12


Be Irn

First downs 13 16

Rushes-yards 21-170 45-192

Passing yards 170 114

Total yards 340 306

Cmp-Att-Int 8-12-0 8-17-1

Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-yards 4-35 2-13

Punts-average 3-35.7 2-26.5


Individual Leaders

RUSHING —Beechwood: Ethan Stringer 14-122, Kyle Fieger 6-29, Brett Slusher 1-19; Ironton: Andrew Barker 19-57, Desmond Young 13-48 2-TD, Jake Isaac 12-82 TD, Travis Carey 1-5.

PASSING — Beechwood: Kyle Fieger 8-12-0 170 3-TD; Ironton: Jake Isaac 8-17-1 114.

RECEIVING — Beechwood: Brett Slusher 4-101 3-TD, Trevor Soward 1-12, Cameron Way 1-12, Ethan Stringer 1-6; Ironton: Lucas Campbell 4-58, Andrew Barker 3-50, Travis Carey 1-6.