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Fighting Tigers come to life to get easy win

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ wide receiver Brycen Thomas (right) slips the tackle of a Rock Hill defensive back as he races toward the end zone on a 58-yard touchdown pass play in the fourth quarter of Friday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. Ironton won, 47-13. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

PEDRO — The Rock Hill Redmen tried to throw a scare at the Ironton Fighting Tigers.
Ironton didn’t scare easy.
After falling behind twice early in the first half, Ironton used a big scoring spurt in the second quarter to rally from the early deficit for a 47-13 win on Friday.
The win enabled Ironton (5-2, 4-0) to remain tied for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference with Gallipolis who pulled away from Coal Grove, 42-20.
The Redmen were a heavy underdog coming into the game but someone forgot to tell them.
Rock Hill (2-5, 1-3) forced a three-and-out start the game and Ethan Duncan booted a 55-yard punt to the 11-yard line.
But the Redmen embarked on an 89-yard, 14-play drive capped by quarterback Brayden Friend’s 1-yard run and it was 6-0 at the 3:55 mark.
Ironton answered with 56-yard, 9-play drive key by two key runs by Reid Carrico totaling 32 yards and then Carrico went the final 3 yards to tie the game with 11:54 left in the half.
The tie was short-lived as Friend kept the ball on a third-and-5 and raced 64 yards for his second touchdown.
Brady Floyd kicked the conversion and the Redmen led 13-6 with 10:24 left in the half.
Carrico returned the kickoff 39 yards to the 40 and promptly ran 29 yards on first down to the Rock Hill 31.
Gage Salyers threw for 7 yards to Cameron Deere and then Salyers ran the final yard for the score.
Michael Mahlmeister kicked the conversion and the game was tied 13-13 with 6:35 to go in the half.
With the aid of a holding penalty on the Redmen, the Fighting Tigers forced a punt and got the ball back at the 29.
Four plays got Ironton to midfield and then Salyers hit Brycen Thomas on a 49-yard pass. Seth Fosson went the final yard and Mahlmeister’s kick gave Ironton its first lead at 20-13 with 1:55 on the clock.
The pivotal play of the half came on an interception by Collin Freeman and 45-yard return that had Ironton at the Redmen 30-yard line.
Ironton was called for hold that moved the ball back to the 40, but a 28-yard screen pass to Carrico got the ball to the 12.
After losing a yard, Salyers threw 13 yards to Thomas for the TD and Mahlmeister’s kick made it 27-13 with just 16 seconds left.
Rock Hill came out in the second half and drove 60 yards in 15 plays only to fumble and Carrico recovered at the 12.
The drive ate 7:49 off the clock.
Ironton failed to get a first down and a 13-yard punt gave Rock Hill the ball at the Fighting Tigers’ 24.
But a holding penalty cost the Redmen 12 yards and Fosson sacked Friend on fourth down for a loss of 13 yards.
Getting the ball at the 47, Ironton then put the game out of reach as Carrico had runs of 21, 14 and 9 with the latter for the touchdown and it was 33-13 with 11:07 to play.
A third turnover by the Redmen led to a third Ironton touchdown moments later. Rock Hill fumbled the ball away at their own 32 and it took Ironton just three plays to score as Fosson rumbled 10 yards for the TD with 8:52 to go and it was 40-13.
It took Ironton just one play to score again as Salyers and Thomas teamed up on a 58-yard pass play and Mahlmeister’s kick set the score at 47-13 with 6:53 to play.
Ironton had 390 total yards with 202 on the ground as Carrico had 130 yards on 17 carries.
Salyers was 8-of-12 for 188 yards and two TDs. Thomas caught three pass for 120 yards and the two touchdowns.
Rock Hill had 204 yards rushing but only 12 passing.
Hankins ran 13 times for 72 yards and Friend eight tries for 64 yards.
Next Friday, Ironton hosts Coal Grove and Rock Hill visits Gallipolis.
Ironton 0 27 0 20 = 47
Rock Hill 6 7 0 0 = 13
First Quarter
RH — Brayden Friend 1 run (kick failed) 3:55
Second Quarter
Irn — Reid Carrico 3 run (kick blocked) 11:54
RH — Brayden Friend 64 (Brady Floyd kick) 10:24
Irn — Gage Salyers 1 run (Michael Mahlmeister kick) 6:35
Irn — Seth Fosson 1 run (Michael Mahlmeister kick) 1:55
Irn — Brycen Thomas 13 pass from Gage Salyers (Michael Mahlmeister kick) 0:16
Fourth Quarter
Irn — Reid Carrico 9 run (kick failed) 11:07
Irn — Seth Fosson 10 run (Michael Mahlmeister kick) 8:52
Irn — Brycen Thomas 58 pass from Gage Salyers (Michael Mahlmeister kick) 6:53
Irn RH
First downs 16 9
Rushes-yards 31-202 46-204
Passing yards 188 12
Total yards 390 216
Cmp-Att-Int 8-15-0 3-5-1
Fumbles-lost 2-0 4-3
Penalties-yards 6-35 3-32
Punts-average 2-34.0 2-37.0
Individual Leaders
RUSHING —Ironton: Reid Carrico 17-130, Seth Fosson 7-34, Gage Salyers 2-14, Will York 1-17, Kameron Browning 2-5, Ashton Duncan 1-2, Cameron Deere 1-0; Rock Hill: Logan Hankins 13-72, T.J. McGinnis 10-39, Zak Adkins 11-26, Hayden Harper 1-minus 2, Hunter Massie 1-minus 2, Brayden Malone 16, Bryson Hackworth 1-1.
PASSING — Ironton: Gage Salyers 8-12-0 188, Will York 0-3-0; Rock Hill: Brayden Friend 3-5-1 12.
RECEIVING — Ironton: Brycen Thomas 3-120, Ethan Duncan 1-9, Cameron Deere 1-7, Reid Carrico 1-28, Jordan Grizzle 1-10, Seth Fosson 1-14; Rock Hill: Zak Adkins 2-7, Logan Hankins 1-5.