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Trojans escape Ironton rally

Senior running back Alex Cox (26) follows the block of teammate Bryce Munion (85) during Friday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. The depleted Fighting Tigers fell behind 28-0 but rallied to tie the game before losing 42-35 on Friday. (Tony Shotsky of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

With seven two-way starters and 13 total players in street clothes due to injuries, the Ironton Fighting Tigers were reduced to not much more than a junior varsity team.
Someone forgot to tell the Fighting Tigers.
After falling behind 28-0 in the second quarter, Ironton’s patchwork team refused to quit and roared back to tie the game at 35-35 before a 45-yard touchdown run by Talyn Parker with one minute to play enabled the Portsmouth Trojans to escape with a 42-35 Ohio Valley Conference win on Friday.
Even though Portsmouth got the late lead, Ironton still didn’t quit and drove to the 9-yard line with 7.8 seconds to play.
But two passes in the end zone went incomplete and the Trojans had survived.
Senior Garrett Carrico and his freshman brother Reid helped fuel the comeback. Garrett ran 15 times for 96 yards and a touchdown along with a 13-yard pass reception while Reid carried 18 times for 82 yards and caught a 22-yard scoring pass.
Quarterback Gage Salyers was 5-of-9 passing for 74 yards and ran 13 times for 46 yards and two touchdowns.
Ironton (4-6, 3-4) had minus-29 yards rushing in the first quarter thanks to a pair of fumbles and no first downs. Portsmouth (5-5, 4-3) had 153 yards and nine first downs in the first quarter.
Parker rushed 18 times for 151 yards and quarterback Isaac Kelly ran 15 times for 93 yards and was 10-of-13 passing for 124 yards to lead Portsmouth.
The Trojans scored on the opening drive of the game as Kelly hit Parker Johnson with a 36-yard scoring pass. Kelly added touchdown runs of 3 and 1 yards and it was 21-0 with 1:51 on the clock.
A lost fumble gave the Trojans the ball at the Ironton 29 to set up their second score.
Parker had a 1-yard TD run with 9:32 on the second quarter clock and it was 28-0.
Ironton went to its T-formation power game and drove 65 yards in 13 plays capped by freshman Cameron Deer’s first career touchdown with 2:42 left in the half. Izack Unger boomed the extra point and it was 28-7.
Ironton went 55 yards in seven plays to begin the second half with Salyers and Reid Carrico clicking on a 22-yard scoring pass. Unger’s kick cut the deficit to 28-14.
The Fighting Tigers recovered the onside kick-off at the Portsmouth 43 and 10 plays later Garrett Carrico ran 2 yards for the score. Unger’s kick made it 28-21 at the 3:05 mark.
Portsmouth answered with a 55-yard drive in seven plays keyed by Kelly’s 32-yard scramble. Parker went 2 yards for the score and the lead was now 35-21 with 26 seconds left in the quarter.
But the Fighting Tigers lived up to their nickname as they went 69 yards in 11 plays and Salyers went 5 yards for the touchdown.  A 16-yard pass from Salyers to Ethan Wilson on a fourth down was the key play in the drive.
After forcing a punt, Garrett Carrico returned the kick 20 yards to the Trojans’ 40. An unsportsmanlike penalty moved the ball to the 25 and four plays later Salyers scored on a 3-yard run. Unger booted the game-tying extra point with 4:15 to play.
Portsmouth was backed up on its 11-yard line but got to the Ironton 45 on a 22-yard pass from Johnson. Parker then ran right and cut through the defense for a 45-yard touchdown run with one minute left and it was 42-35.
Ironton kept the drama going as Salyers hit Wilson on passes of 13 and 10 yards and Garrett Carrico for 13 yards to the Trojans’ 9 with 7.8 seconds to play.
But Ironton only had time for two passes and both went incomplete.
Portsmouth    21    7    7    7    =    42
Ironton     0    7    14    14    =    35
First Quarter
Prt – Parker Johnson 36 pass from Isaac Kelly (Joel Bowling kick) 10:51
Prt – Isaac Kelly 3run (Joel Bowling kick) 9:30
Prt – Isaac Kelly 1 run (Joel Bowling kick) 1:51
Second Quarter
Prt – Talyn Parker 1 run (Joel Bowling kick) 9:32
Irn – Cameron Deer 7 run (Izack Unger kick) 2:42
Third Quarter
Irn – Reid Carrico 22 pass from Gage Salyers (Izack Unger kick) 8:24
Irn – Garrett Carrico 2 run (Izack Unger kick) 3:05
Prt – Talyn Parker 2 run (Joel Bowling kick) 0:26
Fourth Quarter
Irn – Gage Salyers 5 run (Izack Unger kick) 8:05
Irn – Gage Salyers 2 run (Izack Unger kick) 4:15
Prt – Talyn Parker 45 run (Joel Bowling kick) 1:00
—————
Prt    Irn
First downs    21    19
Rushes-yards    34-250    52-236
Passing yards    124    74
Total yards    374    281
Cmp-Att-Int    10-13-0    5-9-0
Fumbles-lost    3-1    3-1
Penalties-yards    11-100    6-46
Punts-average    2-32.0    2-30.5
——
Individual Leaders
RUSHING — Portsmouth: Talyn Parker 18-151, Isaac Kelly 15-93, D.J. Pearsal 1-6; Ironton: Garrett Carrico 15-96, Reid Carrico 18-82, Gage Salyers 13-46, Cameron Deer 4-12, team 2-minus 29.
PASSING — Portsmouth: Isaac Kelly 10-13-0 124; Ironton: Gage Salyers 5-9-0 74.
RECEIVING — Portsmouth: Parker Johnson 2-58, Deante Parker 5-43, Logan Carter 2-14, D.J. Pearsall 1-9; Ironton: Ethan Wilson 3-39, Reid Carrico 1-22, Garrett Carrico 1-13.