Ironton ‘picks up’ OVC win

Published 1:09 am Monday, September 12, 2016

Jim Walker


PROCTORVILLE — On the old country music variety show “Hee Haw” the singing hosts Buck Owens and Roy Clark had a weekly segment where Owens said, “I’m a pickin’,” and Clark would then say, “And I’m a grinnin’.”

The Ironton Fighting Tigers’ defense revived that sketch on Friday as they were a pickin’ and it left them a grinnin’ with a 31-0 Ohio Valley Conference win over the Fairland Dragons.

Jaxson Pleasant, Eli “D.C.” Willis, Andrew Scott and Seth Fosson all came up with interceptions as Ironton won for the first time this season.

“The defense played good ball. They made plays when they needed. They’ve been getting better. The (defensive backs) are getting more aggressive. They defense has played well the last two weeks,” said Ironton coach Mark Vass.

“Our execution on offense and defense was better but still not great, especially on offense. We’ve got a lot of young players and inexperienced players, so we have to have some patience.”

Ironton’s offense generated 201 yards on the ground and quarterback Jake Isaac was 3-of-4 passing for 25 yards — all to Garrett Carrico.

Scott led a balanced running game with 43 yards on eight carries. Tanner Wilson had 37 yards on eight tries and Fosson added 32 yards on three attempts.

The defense limited Fairland to 119 total yards including 48 yards rushing and 71 passing.

Vass said defensive tackles Tyler Webb and Larry Morris, ends Ethan Duncan and Fosson, and linebackers Pleasant and Wilson were solid most of the game.

He also praised the secondary of Carrico, Isaac, Willis, Scott and Bryson Thomas.

“The weather was still warm and humid, so we rotated guys. The big boys up front playing well and our young guys playing end and linebackers played well,” said Vass.

“They’re talented kids but they’ve never done this before. It’s a group effort. If we can keep playing good defense and get the offense clicking, we can be a decent team.”

Ironton (1-2, 1-0) got its first lead of the season on a 30-yard field goal by Tre Neal with 3:33 left in the first quarter. The kick capped a 10-play drive that began on the Dragons’ 42.

Ironton used a nice punt return and 15-yard penalty against Fairland to set up shop at the Dragons’ 25. Three plays later Scott ran over two defenders on a 9-yard touchdown run and Neal’s kick put the lead at 10-0 with 4:55 left in the half.

Fairland (0-3, 0-1) tried to move quickly at the end of the half looking to get on the scoreboard. Joel Lambiotte hit Chase Fisher for 6 yards and Keedrick Cunningham for 4 yards, but Willis came up with an interception and returned it to the Fairland 29 with 39 seconds left in the half.

Isaac hit Carrico with a pair of 13-yard passes to the 3-yard line where Carrico ran into the end zone for the score and it was 17-0 with just 14 seconds on the clock.

Turnovers dotted the third quarter including three interceptions by Ironton.

After an exchange of turnovers including an Ironton fumble at the 12-yard line, Scott came up with a “Pick 6” as he returned an interception 29 yards for a score and it was 24-0.

A diving interception by Fosson gave Ironton the ball at the Fairland 27 and four plays later Wilson powered his way into the end zone from 6 yards out and it was 31-0 with 4:26 on the clock.

Ironton emptied the bench in the fourth quarter and the second unit managed to drive to the 1-yard line only to take a knee as time ran out.