Fighting Tigers use ground game to deal Panthers first loss, 28-12

Published 12:05 am Sunday, October 2, 2016

Jim Walker

The Ironton Fighting Tigers figured out how to keep the Chesapeake Panthers’ big-play, quick strike offense from scoring.
Don’t let them have the ball.
Ironton ran 60 plays and limited the Panthers to just eight offensive plays in the second half and only 31 for the game with a ball-control power running game that dominated the line of scrimmage.
The result was a 28-12 Ironton win over the Panthers on Friday in a key Ohio Valley Conference game.
Ironton is now 3-3 overall and atop the league at 3-0. Chesapeake suffered its first loss and is 5-1 and 2-1.
Fullback Tanner Wilson carried 24 times for 176 yards and two touchdowns to lead a ground game that racked up 309 yards.
Garrett Carrico had 73 yards on 16 attempts with a touchdown and Ethan Duncan added 45 yards on nine tries and a score.
Ironton head coach Mark Vass praised his offense, especially center Trent Klaiber, guards Levi Langdon and Dylan Redmon, tackles Tyler Webb and Cody Rowe and ends Eli “DC” Willis and Hunter Humphreys.
“Our offensive line handled them up front and came off the ball and were physical all night long. I thought our backs did a great job picking up the linebackers. We worked it all week long, just the assignments and execution. They came out and really did well and just controlled the game on offense,” said Vass.
Chesapeake came into the game averaging nearly 47 points a game but was limited to two touchdowns and the second came with just 1:35 to play.
The Panthers were limited to 177 yards with 149 coming on the ground. Of the 149 yards, 112 came on the two touchdown runs.
“Defensively the quarterback scrambled one play and we knew he was the guy to stop. I thought we did for the most part all night. He popped one and he can run and he found a seam and took it to the house,” said Vass.
“But overall it was a good defensive effort making them earn it and drive down the field. We didn’t give up many big plays. It was a good team effort. We needed that win. We knew that was going to be one of the teams to beat in the league. They came in here 5-0 so that’s a big win any time you beat someone like that.”
Chesapeake punted on the first series of the game and Ironton got the ball at the Panthers’ 47 after a 15-yard return by Carrico.
Three plays later Wilson bolted 37 yards for a touchdown and Tre Neal’s conversion kick made it 7-0 at the 7:42 mark.
“I loved it. We kept pounding. I give it all to the line. They blocked as hard as they could. I loved all our fans out there cheering all they could,” said Wilson.
“Whenever it’s third and one and third and two, we have to get those. It seems like I was running and they weren’t stopping me so I kept going.”
The Panthers put together their best drive of the game as they drove 73 yards in 13 plays, but quarterback Casey McComas was tackled for a 7-yard loss on fourth-and-2 with just 23 seconds on the clock.
Ironton then marched the length of the field in 14 plays capped by Wilson’s 20-yard scoring run and it was 14-0 with 5:22 left in the half.
“It was just one of those good, long old Ironton drives where we’re capable of keeping the ball and punching it in at the end. The backs took care of the ball. We didn’t have any turnovers,” said Vass.
The Panthers quick-strike offense got untracked on the next series. After McComas was stopped for a 2-yard loss, he kept the ball on a counter play and burst 71 yards for a touchdown at the 4:17 mark and it was 14-6.
Ironton got to the Chesapeake 35, but a questionable 15-yard penalty wiped out the first down and Vass was called for another 15 yards for arguing the ball. A holding penalty cost the Fighting Tigers 12 more yards and they found themselves back at their own 25.
Ironton got the ball to begin the second half and promptly put together a 69-yard, 14-play drive capped by Carrico’s 19-yard touchdown run as he broke three tackles and it was 21-6 with 4:55 left in the quarter.
“We were on the line telling each other to keep on going, smelling the end zone. We were getting closer inch by inch,” said Webb.
When the Panthers finally got the ball back they were without McComas who twisted a knee tackling Duncan at the end of the first half.
Backup Austin Browning who doubles as a starting wide receiver took over but the Panthers went three-and-out.
Ironton proceeded to go 77 yards in 16 plays as Duncan pounded into the end zone from 3 yards out with 5:35 to go.
After a Chesapeake punt, Ironton’s second unit fumbled the ball away at its own 41 and Cecil Fletcher scored on the ensuing play to cap the scoring.
Ironton recovered the onside kickoff and took a knee on three straight plays.
McComas finished with 54 yards rushing and Will Scott had 47 yards and Fletcher 44.

Chesapeake    0    6    0    6    =    12
Ironton       7    7    7    7    =    28
First Quarter
Irn — Tanner Wilson 37 run (Tre Neal kick) 7:42
Second Quarter
Irn — Tanner Wilson 20 run (Tre Neal kick) 5:22
Ch — Casey McComas 71 run (kick failed) 4:17
Third Quarter
Irn — Garrett Carrico 19 run (Tre Neal kick) 4:55
Fourth Quarter
Irn — Ethan Duncan 3 run (Tre Neal kick) 5:35
Ch — Cecil Fletcher 41 run (kick failed) 1:35
Ch    Irn
First downs    8    20
Rushes-yards    25-149    59-309
Passing yards    28    10
Total yards    176    319
Cmp-Att-Int    3-6-0    1-1-0
Fumbles-lost    3-0    2-1
Penalties-yards    4-30    7-72
Punts-average    3-35.7    1-52.0
Individual Leaders
RUSHING—Chesapeake: Casey McComas 7-54, Will Scott 9-47, Cecil Fletcher 3-44, J.W. Bartrum 2-2, Ty Wilcoxon 2-0, Austin Browning 2-2; Ironton: Tanner Wilson 24-176, Garrett Carrico 16-73, Ethan Duncan 9-45, Seth Fosson 3-15, Jake Isaac 3-2, team 3-minus 4.
PASSING—Chesapeake: Casey McComas 2-3-0 18, Austin Browning 1-3-0 10; Ironton: Jake Isaac 1-1-0 10.
RECEIVING—Chesapeake: Wes Malavenda 2-25, Austin Browning 1-3; Ironton: Ethan Duncan 1-10.

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