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Ironton makes key plays to win 21-12

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ tight end Ethan Duncan fights off a Coal Grove defender after making a catch for a 10-yard gain during Friday’s 21-12 OVC win. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker

Ironton needed a strong defensive effort and some clutch offense. Seth Fosson gave them both.
After a scoreless first half, Ironton took advantage of two turnovers to score two touchdowns and had another scoring drive as the Fighting Tigers made key plays to beat the Coal Grove Hornets 21-12 in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday.
Fosson had a big game on both sides of the football as he rushed eight times for 81 yards and three touchdowns while making some key defensive stops.
“Seth done a very good job. He’s a load to bring down. He’s a hard-working kid,” said Ironton coach Trevon Pendleton.
Ironton (6-2, 5-0) had 316 total yards with 230 coming on the ground. Reid Carrico ran 15 times for 97 yards and quarterback Gage Salyers rushed 13 times for 52 yards and was 7-of-13 passing for 86 yards and an interception.
Coal Grove (4-4, 2-3) finished with 327 total yards with quarterback Nate Harmon hitting 11-of-17 passes for 188 yards and an interception.
Austin Stapleton carried 22 times for 98 yards as Coal Grove had 139 yards on the ground. Evan Holmes caught four passes for 95 yards.
“We done a lot of good things. We just need to attack things with more intensity. We have to make the plays when the opportunity presents itself,” said Pendleton.
“(Coal Grove) done a lot of good things. We have to work hard this week. Our motto is to get three percent better each day.”
Ironton’s win sets up a showdown for the league title as the Fighting Tigers host Gallipolis in a battle of unbeatens.
Ironton forced a punt to start the second half and then went 62 yards in seven plays as Fosson scored on a 2-yard run with 7:32 on the clock. Michael Mahlmeister kicked the conversion.
The Fighting Tigers fumbled the ball at their own 9-yard line and the Hornets recovered.
Two plays later, Stapleton went 4 yards for the score and it was 7-6 at the 4:46 mark. The conversion run failed.
Coal Grove had the ball at its own 34, but Fosson’s big hit caused a fumble and Cameron Deere recovered at the 30.
Five plays later, Fosson scored from 2 yards out and it was 14-6 with 8:37 left.
The Hornets got to the Ironton 20 but Brycen Thomas came up with an interception at the 4-yard line and returned it to the 44. A penalty put the ball at the 49 and then Salyers ran 32 yards to the 19.
Salyers lost 5 yards on a stop by Evan Holmes, but Fosson bulled his way through the defense for a 24-yard touchdown run with 4:10left and it was 21-6.
Harmon took to the air and completed three passes, the latter 52 yards to Holmes for a touchdown with 1:5 left and it was 21-12.
The Hornets recovered a fumble with 1:36 left and Harmon hit four straight passes to put the ball at the Ironton 20.
But the defense held on the next two plays as time ran out.
In the first half, Ironton got a first down but punt on the first possession of the game.
Coal Grove then went on a 16-play drive from its own 24 to the Ironton 12 but Harmon was tackled for a loss on fourth down by Fosson for a loss of 7 yards.
After an Ironton punt, Coal Grove used a roughing the kicker penalty to keep its drive going but stalled again at the Ironton 26 as the Fighting Tigers’ defense held on fourth-and-one.
Ironton mixed the run with passes and screens to get to the Hornets’ 19. But an incomplete pass on fourth down ended the drive.
A quick three-and-out and 56-yard punt by Holmes gave Ironton the ball at its own 29.
Salyers hit three straight passes of 10 yards to Ethan Duncan, Carrico for 20 and Thomas for 8 yards to reach the Hornets’ 29.
But with time running out, Salyers had to throw on the run and Jalen McKenzie came up with an interception at the 8-yard line to end the scoreless first half.
Next Friday, Ironton hosts Gallipolis in a showdown for first place in the league while Coal Grove visits Fairland.
Coal Grove 0 0 6 6 = 12
Ironton 0 0 7 14 = 21
Third Quarter
Irn — Seth Fosson 2 run (Michael Mahlmeister kick) 7:32
CG — Austin Stapleton 4 run (run failed) 4:46
Fourth Quarter
Irn — Seth Fosson 2 run (Michael Mahlmeister kick) 8:37
Irn — Seth Fosson 24 run (Michael Mahlmeister kick) 4:10
CG — Evan Holmes 52 pass from Nate Harmon (kick failed) 1:55
CG Irn
First downs 16 16
Rushes-yards 46-139 37-230
Passing yards 188 82
Total yards 327 316
Cmp-Att-Int 11-18-2 7-13-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-2
Penalties-yards 11-73 5-60
Punts-average 3-44.3 3-28.0
Individual Leaders
RUSHING — Coal Grove: Austin Stapleton 22-98, Kyle Sites 9-18, Nate Harmon 13-22, Aaron Music 2-1; Ironton: Reid Carrico 15-97, Seth Fosson 8-81, Gage Salyers 13-52, Cameron Deere 1-0.
PASSING — Coal Grove: Nate Harmon 11-18-2 188; Ironton: Gage Salyers 7-13-1 82.
RECEIVING — Coal Grove: Evan Holmes 4-95, Aaron Music 4-51, Cory Borders 2-27, Jalen McKenzie 1-15; Ironton: Ayden Barnes 1-18, Brycen Thomas 3-35, Seth Fosson 1-3, Ethan Duncan 1-10, Reid Carrico 1-20.