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Ironton downs Panthers, 40-28

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ running back Tanner Wilson (32) fights off a Chesapeake defender as he gains yardage during Friday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. Ironton beat the Panthers 40-28. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker

CHESAPEAKE — The Ironton Fighting Tigers did everything they could to help the Chesapeake Panthers.
Well, not everything.
Ironton had three turnovers deep in Chesapeake territory that the Panthers turned into touchdowns.
But the Fighting Tigers still managed to move the ball with great success without turning it over and picked up a 40-28 Ohio Valley Conference win on Friday.
Ironton (3-3, 2-1) amassed 525 total yards with 348 on the ground.
Seth Fosson ran 13 times for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Gage Salyers carried 21 times for 115 yards and scored twice. He was 8-of-16 passing for 177 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Garrett Carrico was the top receiver with five receptions covering 94 yards and a touchdown. Tanner Wilson had 53 yards on four carries with a touchdown.
Chesapeake (3-3, 0-3) was led by Austin Browning with 166 yards rushing on 31 carries and two touchdowns. The Panthers had 216 yards rushing and 16 passing for 232 total yards.
The teams exchanged punts to start the game and then Ironton went 63 yards in seven plays behind the running of Fosson and Wilson.
But it was Salyers who finished the drive with a 20-yard keeper and Izack Unger’s kick made it 7-0 at the 6:06 mark.
A sack by Trent Klaiber cut the Panthers’ next possession short but Cole Mills got off a 58-yard punt and roll that pinned Ironton back at its 14-yard line.
Two long passes to Carrico covering 65 yards helped get the ball to the 17. But after a 5-yard penalty, Wilson ran to the 1-yard line only to have the ball stripped and roll out of the end zone.
Taking over at the 20, Chesapeake took advantage of the break and began a long drive with Browning — he began the game at wingback but returned to quarterback — carrying the ball 14 times in the 16-play drive including the final 2 yards for the touchdown.
Dalton Nida’s conversion kick tied the game with 5:54 left in the half.
Ironton had little trouble moving the ball in the first half and quickly went 75 yards in seven plays on its next possession.
Two big runs by Fosson set up Salyers’ 13-yard scoring run and it was 14-7 with 3:10 left in the half.
Ironton’s defense forced a three-and-out and got the ball back with 2:14 left in the half.
The Fighting Tigers went 54 yards in 10 plays capped by Salyers 13-yard scoring strike to Carrico with just nine seconds on the clock and it was 21-7.
Chesapeake failed to cover the kickoff and Alex Cox jumped on the ball at the Panthers’ 21. Ironton immediately went for the field goal but Unger’s 38-yard attempt was just short.
Ironton shot itself in the foot a second time by reaching the Panthers’ 18 only to fumble.
Again, Chesapeake took advantage and went the length of the field to score as Browning bolted 33 yards for a touchdown at the 2:41 mark and it was 21-14.
But Ironton came right back on the ensuing play after the kickoff as Fosson exploded through the Panthers’ defense and went 65 yards for the touchdown and a 28-14 lead.
Carrico returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown but a penalty nullified the play as the third quarter ended.
The Fighting Tigers had another drive into Chesapeake territory but Jake Stevens intercepted a tipped pass and returned it to the Ironton 4-yard line.
Two plays later quarterback Evan Burcham kept and scored on a 1-yard run and the Panthers trailed 28-21.
Ironton answered just six plays later as Fosson ripped through the defense for a 35-yard scoring run and the lead was 34-21 with 5:04 to play.
With Chesapeake forced to throw, Brycen Thomas picked off a fourth down pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown and it was 40-21 with 3:40 to go.
The Panthers got the final score on a 22-yard pass from Burcham to Jake Stevens with 15 seconds to play.
Next Friday, Ironton hosts Rock Hill and Chesapeake visits Portsmouth.
Ironton       7    14    7    12    =    40
Chesapeake    0    7    7    14    =    28
First Quarter
Irn — Gage Salyers 20 run (Izack Unger kick) 6:06
Second Quarter
Ch — Austin Browning 2 run (Dalton Nida kick) 5:54
Irn — Gage Salyers 13 run (Izack Unger kick) 3:10
Irn — Garrett Carrico 13 pass from Gage Salyers (Izack Unger kick) 0:09
Third Quarter
Ch — Austin Browning 33 run (Dalton Nida kick) 2:41
Irn — Seth Fosson 65 run (Izack Unger kick) 2:23
Fourth Quarter
Ch — Evan Burcham 1 run (Dalton Nida kick) 8:16
Irn — Seth Fosson 35 run (kick failed) 5:04
Irn — Brycen Thomas 48 interception return (kick failed) 3:40
Ch — Jake Stevens 22 pass from Evan Burcham (Dalton Nida kick) 0:15
Irn    Ch
First downs    21    16
Rushes-yards    41-348    54-216
Passing yards    177    16
Total yards    525    232
Cmp-Att-Int    8-16-1    2-7-1
Fumbles-lost    4-2    3-1
Penalties-yards    4-40    5-30
Punts-average    1-33.0    4-38.5
Individual Leaders
RUSHING —Ironton: Seth Fosson 13-178, Gage Salyers 21-115, Tanner Wilson 4-53, Garrett Carrico 3-2; Chesapeake: Austin Browning 31-166, Kamren Harless 8-22, Tyler Eddy 7-17, Evan 7-6, Carson Nida 1-5.
PASSING — Ironton: Gage Salyers 8-16-1 177; Chesapeake: Evan Burcham 2-7-1 16.
RECEIVING — Ironton: Garrett Carrico 5-94, Ethan Wilson 2-35, Brycen Thomas 1-48; Chesapeake: Jake Stevens 1-22, Austin Browning 1-minus 6.