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Ironton ‘D’ vs. Generals’ offense key in regional finals

TOP: Ironton fullback Beau Brownstead (8) powers his way for a gain against Amanda-Clearcreek. BOTTOM: Ironton linebackers Dalton Crabtree (33) and Cameron Deere (30) make the stop on the A-C quarterback. (Kent Sanborn/Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

It’s a case of where the unmovable object meets the unstoppable force.
According to physic experts, if this occurred not much would happen. They would pass right through each other.
But that hypothesis is based on unlimited mass and energy. These people of physics don’t understand or know about the Division 5 Region 19 championship game between the Ironton Fighting Tigers and West Lafayette Ridgewood Generals.
Ironton brings the immovable object in a defense that has allowed only 69 points this season. Ridgewood has an offense that has scored 583 points for 48.6 points per game.
It’s gonna be some kind of collision come 7 p.m. Saturday at Nelsonville-York High School.
The winner advances to the state semifinals to play the winner of the West Liberty-Salem vs. West Jefferson Region 17 title game.
Ironton is 11-1 and finished first in the Region 19 computer ratings. Ridgewood is 12-0 and was second.
Ridgewood’s high-powered offense is led by sophomore quarterback Gabe Tingle (5-11, 176) who is 126 of 182 on the season — that’s 69 percent — for 2,573 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also leads the team in rushing with 107 carries for 890 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Tingle throws to a plethora of receivers led by senior Koleton Smith (5-10, 153) who has 52 receptions for 1,010 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior Kaden Smith (5-10, 196) has 17 catches for 288 yards and a touchdown and he is second on the team with 597 yards rushing and 10 TDs.
Senior Connor Kunze (6-3, 177) has 30 catches for 729 yards and 12 touchdowns and he also does the punting and placekicking.
While most eyes will be focused on the Ironton defense and Ridgewood offense, the subplot is just as important. Ironton’s offense isn’t exactly chop liver and Ridgewood’s defense has allowed 147 points this season.
Ironton has scored 469 points on the season for 39.1 points a game and the defense has given up just 69 points which is less than a touchdown per game.
Calculate those entities or maybe get Sir Isaac Newton to do the color commentary for the radio broadcast.
When dissecting the numbers, Ridgewood averages 48.3 points a game and Ironton 39.1 for a 9.2 difference.
Defensively, Ridgewood gives up 12.3 points a game and Ironton 5.8 for a 6.5 difference.
Ironton’s offense is led by the one-two punch of senior quarterback Gage Salyers (6-1, 205) and junior running back Reid Carrico (6-3, 225).
Salyers is 66-of-130 passing for 1,357 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has rushed 90 times for 649 yards and 11 scores.
Carrico leads the team with 1,168 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns. He also leads the team in receiving with 15 catches for 344 yards and four scores.
Salyers spreads the ball around with as many as seven potential targets.
Besides Carrico, junior Trent Hacker (6-2, 175) has nine caches for 219 yards and three TDs, junior Kyle Howell (5-10, 170) had 13 snags for 188 yards and two scores, senior Jordan Grizzle (5-10, 190) has nine receptions for 178 yards and two scores, senor Collin Freeman (6-0, 170) six grabs for 139 yards and a TD and sophomore tight end Ashton Duncan (6-2, 205) has eight receptions for 121 yards.
Ironton is tied with Cincinnati Moeller for second all-time with 35 playoff appearances. Ironton has two state titles, six runners-up, 11 state semifinal appearances and a 47-32 playoff record.
Ridgewood coach John Slusser has had an impressive run since taking over in 2004. He has posted a 144-35 record during that span and Ridgewood has qualified for the playoffs 14 times.
However, the deepest run the Generals have made came in 2009 when they won their only regional title and made the state semifinals in Division 6. Their playoff record is 8-13.
The win over Wheelersburg last week was Ridgewood’s first-ever over the Pirates after losing four previous playoff meetings.
Ridgewood beat Minford 36-10, Oak Hill 20-12 and Fredericktown 20-14 before losing 48-6 to Youngstown Ursuline. A win over Ironton would give the Generals their second state semifinals appearance.
Ironton coach Trevon Pendleton is in just his second season and has a 17-6 record with two playoff appearances.

Ironton’s offensive line has senior Caden McFann (5-11, 250) at center, junior Matthew Davis (6-0, 210) the right guards and sophomore Riley Boggs (6-2, 260) the left guard. The tackles are senior Nathaniel Davidson (6-5, 315) and sophomore Ryan Cecil (6-1, 270).
Junior Rocky White (5-11, 235) was the starting center before being injured for the second straight season. McFann — who was starting at guard — shifted to the center position just as he did last year.

Ironton Offense
SE 29 Jordan Grizzle 5-10 190 Sr.
25 Colin Freeman 6-00 170 Sr.
LT 70 Riley Boggs 6-02 260 So.
78 Ryan Cecil 6-01 270 So.
LG 57 Caden McFann 5-11 250 Sr.
C 63 Rocky White 5-11 235 Jr.
65 Lucas White 5-11 220 Sr.
RG 52 Matthew Davis 6-00 210 Jr.
RT 79 Noah Davidson 6-05 315 Sr.
TE 24 Ashton Duncan 6-02 205 So.
WR 20 Kyle Howell 5-10 170 Jr.
10 Trent Hacker 6-02 175 Jr.
QB 7 Gage Salyers 6-01 205 Sr.
FB 44 Seth Fosson 6-01 235 Sr.
30 Cameron Deere 5-11 185 Jr.
TB 28 Reid Carrico 6-03 225 Jr.
PK 12 Avery Book 5-11 180 Sr.
Ironton Defense
DE 36 Gunnar Crawford 5-10 225 Jr.
33 Dalton Crabtree 5-10 190 Jr.
DT 2 Junior Jones 6-00 240 Sr.
DT 76 Nate Cochran 6-02 250 So.
DE 44 Seth Fosson 6-01 235 Sr.
LB 28 Reid Carrico 6-03 225 Jr.
LB 30 Cameron Deere 5-11 185 Jr.
CB 29 Jordan Grizzle 5-10 190 Sr.
10 Trent Hacker 6-02 175 Jr.
CB 25 Colin Freeman 6-00 170 Sr.
S 7 Gage Salyers 6-01 205 Sr.
S 20 Kyle Howell 5-10 170 Jr.
P 12 Avery Book 5-11 180 Sr.
West Lafayette Ridgewood Defense
DE 9 Kaden Smith 5-10 196 Sr.
DT 57 Zach Prater 6-01 303 Jr.
DT 62 Bryce Prater 6-01 287 Jr.
DE 52 J.J. Durr 5-10 221 Jr.
LB 35 Deontae Brandon 5-10 164 Jr. LB 34 Isaiah Lamneck 5-10 164 Sr.
LB 9 Kaden Smith 5-10 196 Sr.
CB 12 Javan Belt 6-01 149 Jr.
CB 4 Kigenn Millender 5-08 151 So.
SS 2 Gabe Tingle 5-11 176 So.
FS 3 Koleten Smith 5-10 153 Sr.
P 6 Connor Kunze 6-03 177 Sr.

West Lafayette Ridgewood Offense
WR 3 Koleten Smith 5-10 153 Sr.
14 Dalton Patterson 5-11 158 So.
LT 51 Cody Thompson 6-01 242 Sr.
LG 52 J.J. Durr 5-10 221 Jr.
C 57 Zach Prater 6-01 303 Jr.
RG 65 Marcus Leindecker 6-02 192 Jr.
RT 56 John Evin 6-01 237 Sr.
WR 6 Connor Kunze 6-03 177 Sr.
11 Colten Hursey 5-11 143 Sr.
QB 2 Gabe Tingle 5-11 176 So.
RB 9 Kaden Smith 5-10 196 Sr.
RB 34 Isaiah Lamneck 5-10 164 Sr.
PK 6 Connor Kunze 6-03 177 Sr.

 

Ironton Fighting Tigers
Ironton 30 Wheelersburg (8-4) 6
Ironton 10 Russell, Ky. (9-3) 0
Ironton 49 Fairland (6-4) 7
Ironton 10 Ashland, Ky. (10-2) OT 16
Ironton 38 South Point (1-9) 2
Ironton 50 Chesapeake (4-6) 6
Ironton 46 Rock Hill (3-7) 0
Ironton 49 Coal Grove (2-8) 12
Ironton 52 Gallipolis (9-2) 0
Ironton 48 Portsmouth (8-3) 7
Division 5 Playoffs
Ironton 56 Wellston (7-4) 6
Ironton 31 Amanda-Clearcreek (9-3) 7
Record: 11-1

West Lafayette Ridgewood Generals
Ridgewood 49 Northwestern (4-6) 15
Ridgewood 51 River View (5-5) 9
Ridgewood 54 Coshocton (1-9) 14
Ridgewood 39 Malvern (5-6) 6
Ridgewood 61 Tuscarawas Catholic (4-6) 21
Ridgewood 31 Indian Valley (9-2) 9
Ridgewood 46 Sugarcreek Garaway (9-2) 7
Ridgewood 48 Tuscarawas Valley (2-8) 7
Ridgewood 56 Claymont (0-10) 0
Ridgewood 50 Newcomerstown (5-5) 21
Division 5 Playoffs
Ridgewood 56 Portsmouth (8-3) 21
Ridgewood 42 Wheelersburg (8-4) 17
Record: 12-0