Ironton trumps Aces to reach Region 19 championship game

Published 11:44 pm Saturday, November 16, 2019

Jim Walker

JACKSON — There were plenty of mistakes, but the running game and defense for Ironton proved to be a great eraser.
Ironton lost three of six fumbles and were penalized 13 times for 110 yards but still dominated the Amanda-Clearcreek Aces 31-7 on Saturday in the Division 5 Region 19 semifinals.
No. 1-seed Ironton (11-1) will play No. 2-seed West Lafayette Ridgewood in the Region 19 championship game next Saturday at Nelsonville-York High School.
Ridgewood (12-0) beat Wheelersburg 42-17 in the other regional semifinal game on Saturday.
Ironton’s defense shut down the high-scoring offense of Amanda-Clearcreek (9-3) in picking up its fourth the fourth time in as many meetings including twice in the playoffs.
The Aces offense was basically the running of senior quarterback Peyton Madison who had 20 times for 132 yards. He was only 5-of-12 passing with two interceptions and 58 yards as A-C managed 199 total yards.
The Fighting Tigers’ ground game generated 325 yards on 57 attempts. Quarterback Gage Salyers ran 20 times for 122 yards and a score while hitting 3-of-10 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Reid Carrico had 85 yards on 17 attempts and caught two passes for 32 yards.
Kyle Howell started and finished Ironton’s first touchdown.
Howell intercepted a pass on the second play of the game and returned it to the A-C 42-yard line. Seven plays later, Salyers hit Howell running across the middle for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
Avery Book’s conversion kick made it 7-0 with 7:46 on the first quarter clock.
Ironton attempted an onside kick-off but the ball was touched prematurely to give A-C the ball at the Ironton 44.
That short field help provide the Aces with their only score and just the third time a team has scored in the first quarter this season against the Ironton defense.
It took just three plays to score as Madison rambled his way through the defense for a 33-yard touchdown run with 6:22 left in the quarter. Jonathan Weaver kicked the conversion.
Ironton assumed command of the game from that point on.
After an Aces’ punt, Ironton went on a 64-yard, 10-play drive — all but one on the ground — with Carrico catching a wheel route out of the backfield on the first play of the second quarter for a 9-yard scoring pass from Salyers.
Book’s conversion made it 14-7 with 11:54 left in the half.
After a Clearcreek punt, the teams traded fumbles and Ironton went on a 70-yard, 12-play drive that culminated on a 4-yard run by Salyers with 4:49 left in the half and it was 21-7.
Ironton had another chance to score before the half when Carrico tipped a pass and Salyers made a diving interception at the A-C 41.
But a holding penalty on a run put Ironton in a hole and they were eventually forced to punt.
The Fighting Tigers got the ball to begin the second half and marched from their own 30 to the Aces’ 23. A fourth-and-one sneak by Salyers at the Ironton 39 kept the drive alive and a 21-yard pass to Carrico got the ball to the Aces’ 43.
The drive stalled at the 23 but Ironton merely called on Book who easily booted a 40-yard field goal with 5:56 on the clock and it was 24-7.
A-C moved the ball from its own 25 to midfield only to have Ironton defensive end Seth Fosson strip the ball and return it to the 33-yard line.
Eight plays later, Junior Jones got a rare carry and went the final yard for the touchdown and a 31-7 lead with just 22 seconds to go in the quarter.
Ironton had a drive to the Aces’ 10-yard line only to fumble the ball away.
Clearcreek 7 0 0 0 = 7
Ironton 7 14 10 0 = 31
First Quarter
Irn — Kyle Howell 19 pass from Gage Salyers (Avery Book kick) 7:46
AC — Peyton Madison 33 run (Jonathan Weaver kick) 6:22
Second Quarter
Irn — Reid Carrico 9 pass from Gage Salyers (Avery Book kick) 11:54
Irn — Gage Salyers 4 run (Avery Book kick) 4:49
Third Quarter
Irn — Avery Book 40 field goal 5:56
Irn — Junior Jones 1 run (Avery Book kick) 0:22
AC Irn
First downs 11 21
Rushes-yards 28-141 57-325
Passing yards 58 51
Total yards 199 376
Cmp-Att-Int 5-14-2 3-11-0
Fumbles-lost 3-2 6-3
Penalties-yards 6-43 13-110
Punts-average 2-27.5 1-40.0
Individual Leaders
RUSHING — Clearcreek: Peyton Madison 21-132, Alex Fairchild 3-1, Jesse Connell 4-8; Ironton: Gage Salyers 20-122, Reid Carrico 17-85, Cameron Deere 7-50, Seth Fosson 5-30, Trevor Carter 5-33, Junior Jones 2-3, Beau Brownstead 1-2.
PASSING — Clearcreek: Peyton Madison 5-12-2 51, Jayse Miller 0-1-0, Jeff Bolin 0-1-0; Ironton: Gage Salyers 3-10-0 58, Reid Carrico 0-1-0.
RECEIVING — Clearcreek: Brock Banker 3-29, Jayse Miller 1-7, Lane Stevens 1-22; Ironton: Reid Carrico 2-32, Kyle Howell 1-19.

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