Ironton, Symmes Valley prepare for playoffs

Published 7:05 pm Sunday, November 3, 2019

Jim Walker

Elton John sang that Saturday night was alright for fighting, get a little action in.
Well, there’s a different kind of fighting this Saturday night as the Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs kickoff at 7 p.m.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers will be hosting the Wellston Golden Rockets at Tanks Memorial Stadium in a Region 19 Division 5 game while the Symmes Valley Vikings travel to play the Shadyside Tigers in the Region 27 Division 7 quarterfinals.
Ironton (9-1) was first in Region 19 which set up the home matchup with No. 8 Wellston (7-3). This marks Ironton’s first home playoff game since beating Martins Ferry 26-13 in 2014.
Wheelersburg (7-3) edged out West Lafayette Ridgewood (10-0) was second in the region and will welcome Portsmouth (8-2). Wheelersburg (7-3) host Minford (7-3) in rematch of their regular season game won by the Pirates 21-20 in overtime and Columbus Academy (7-3) goes to Amanda Clearcreek (8-2).
The Ironton-Wellston winner will face the Clearcreek-Academy winner while the Wheelersburg-Minford winner goes against the Ridgewood-Portsmouth victory.
Ironton leads the series with Wellston 19-4-1. However, the teams haven’t played since 1981 when Wellston was still a member of the SEOAL but left after that year to join the TVC.
In that game in 1981, Ironton won the season finale 54-19 at Wellston as fullback Dennis Bacon ran for 250 yards and four touchdowns in the first half and then the starters sat in the second half.
This is Ironton’s 35th playoff appearance, tied with Cincinnati Moeller for second most behind Newark Catholic which qualified for the 36th time this season.
Wellston has made the playoffs twice, posting 7-4 records in each season and finishing sixth in the region both times. The Rockets lost 40-6 to Bellaire in 2004 and 41-0 to Martins Ferry in 2006.
In Region 27, Symmes Valley (9-1) will play at Shadyside (7-3) for the first time in school history in what is the 100th season of football for the Shadyside program.
The region’s No.1 seed Harvest Prep (9-1) host Lancaster Fisher Catholic (6-4), Newark Catholic (7-3) entertains Reedsville Eastern (8-2), and Waterford (7-2) host Shenandoah (7-2).
The Symmes Valley-Shadyside winner will play the Newark Catholic-Fisher Catholic winner while the Harvest Prep-Eastern winner faces the Shenandoah-Waterford winner.
Symmes Valley is making its 12th playoff appearance and first since 2014. Shadyside is making its 21st playoff appearance. The Tigers were state runners-up in 2006 and 2010 and have reached the state semifinals four times.
Ironton won the OVC championship this season and Symmes Valley was SOC champions.