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Ironton to face West Jefferson in Chillicothe for berth in state title game

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

It seems the reoccurring theme of the No. 9 isn’t just associated with the Beatles’ John Lennon.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers have had reoccurring ties to the number such as state titles in 1979 and 1989 and then the infamous fourth down official’s call that cost them the state title in 1999.
Now it is 2019 and the Fighting Tigers (12-1) are looking at a possible third state title that will take a big step on Saturday at 7p.m. when they play the West Jefferson Roughriders (12-1) in the Division 5 state semifinals at Chillicothe.
The other state semifinal game has top-ranked Kirtland (13-0) facings Canton Oak Harbor (13-0) in Strongsville with the winner to advance to the state championship game against the Ironton-West Jefferson winner.
The game will mark the first meeting between the two programs. Ironton shutdown the high-powered West Lafayette Ridgewood Generals 24-14 in the Region 19 championship game while West Jefferson got revenge for an earlier 42-39 loss to West Liberty-Salem by rolling to a 34-0 win.
After taming Ridgewood quarterback Gage Tingle who failed to throw a touchdown pass in a game for the first time this season, the Ironton defense will face another high-scoring offense and 2,000-yard passer in quarterback Tyler Buescher, also a sophomore like Tingle.
Buescher is 145-of-196 on the season for 74 percent. He has piled up 2,635 yards and thrown for 32 touchdowns.
Ironton has qualified for the playoffs 35 times — tied with Cincinnati Moeller for the second most all-time — and is making its 12th state semifinal appearance. Ironton has a 48-32 overall playoff record to go with the two state titles and semifinal appearances in 1973,75, 79, 82, 85, 88, 89, 92, 93, 95 and 99.
West Jefferson is making its 22nd playoff appearance and won state titles in 1976 and 1982. The Roughriders had a 26-19 playoff record and this will be the program’s fifth state semifinal appearance. The other four came in 1976, 77, 82 and 2013.
2019 Ohio High School Athletic Association
Football State Semifinal Pairings
Pairings listed with record and final Associated Press rank.
Home team listed first.
All games kick off at 7:00 PM unless otherwise noted.
Division I – Games at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29
No. 9 Cincinnati Elder (11-2) vs. No. 5 Springfield (12-1) at Piqua Alexander Stadium
No. 1 Mentor (13-0) vs. No. 3 Pickerington Central (12-1) at Canton GlenOak at Bob Commings Field
Division II – Games at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29
No. 1 Massillon Washington (13-0) vs. No. 4 Avon (13-0) at Parma Byers Field at Robert M. Boulton Stadium
No. 6 Cincinnati La Salle (11-2) vs. No. 2 Toledo Central Catholic (13-0) at Sidney Memorial Stadium
Division III – Games at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29
No. 3 Aurora (13-0) vs. No. 9 Mansfield Senior (12-1) at Macedonia Nordonia Boliantz Stadium
No. 1 Columbus Bishop Hartley (12-1) vs. No. 7 Trotwood-Madison (10-3) at London Bowlus Field
Division IV – Games at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30
No. 4 Newark Licking Valley (13-0) vs. Poland Seminary (11-2) at Massillon Washington Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
No. 1 Cincinnati Wyoming (13-0) vs. Clyde (9-4) at Marysville Impact Stadium
Division V – Games at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30
No. 5 Ironton (12-1) vs. No. 8 West Jefferson (12-1) at Chillicothe Herrnstein Field
No. 1 Kirtland (13-0) vs. No. 3 Oak Harbor (13-0) at Strongsville Pat Catans Stadium
Division VI – Games at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29
No. 1 Anna (12-1) vs. Mechanicsburg (11-2) at Wapakoneta Harmon Field
No. 2 New Middletown Springfield (13-0) vs. Howard East Knox (13-0) at Orrville Heartland Field at Red Rider Stadium
Division VII – Games at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30
No. 4 Canal Winchester Harvest Preparatory (12-1) vs. No. 7 Lucas (11-2) at Columbus St. Francis DeSales Alumni Stadium
No. 1 Maria Stein Marion Local (11-2) vs. No. 10 Hamler Patrick Henry (10-3) at Lima Senior Spartan Stadium