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Fighting Tigers, Generals meet again for regional title

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

Haven’t I seen you before?
Yes, now I remember. Division 5 Region 19 championship game last season. And we — meaning Ironton — won 24-14.
Well, the Fighting Tigers will meet the West Lafayette Ridgewood Generals once against for the regional title when the teams collide at 7 p.m. Saturday night at legendary Tanks Memorial Stadium.
Ironton and Ridgewood are both 9-0 on the season. Last season, Ironton was 11-1 and Ridgewood 12-0 going into last year’s title game. Ironton is ranked second in the Associated Press poll while Ridgewood was ranked fourth.
And what each of these teams saw last season is pretty much the same thing they’ll see this year. Ironton has a punishing ground game and a swarming, aggressive defense. Ridgewood has a wide-open offense with a gritty, stingy defense.
The Generals’ head coach John Slusser is in his 16th season and now has an impressive 144-34 record and he has guided the team to 14 of the program’s 15 playoff appearance.
Ridgewood is seeking to win only its second regional title. The Generals won the region in 2009 but lost in the state semifinals. They have an all-time playoff record of 11-14.
Ironton is making its 36 playoff appearances — tied for second most in state history with Cincinnati Moeller and trailing only Newark Catholic by one trip — and has two state titles with seven runners-up including last season.
Ironton is 52-33 overall in the postseason. Fighting Tigers’ head coach Trevon Pendleton is 28-7 in three seasons and 7-2 in the playoffs.
Junior quarterback Gabe Tingle is the main focus of the offense but he was injured in last week’s playoff game against Wheelersburg he was injured on the fifth play and sat out most of the half except for two plays.
He played sparingly in the second half but completed two key passes including a TD toss that proved to be the difference in the game.
Tingle is 91-of-134 passing for 1,631 yards on the season with three interceptions and 18 touchdowns passes. He threw for more than 2,000 yards last season and 37 touchdowns.
However, Tingle was only 3-of-5 for 64 yards including a 14-yard TD pass to Deontae Brandon with eight minutes left in the game that gave Ridgewood a 13-3 lead in a 13-10 win over Wheelersburg last week.
Tingle has rush 95 times for 646 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Generals backup quarterback is senior Javan Belt who plays wide receiver. He has 11 catches for 268 yards and 5 touchdowns on the season and averages 24.4 yards a catch.
Brandon is second on the team in rushing with 77 carries for 531 yards — a 6.9 yards per carry average — and 8 rushing scores. He ran for 77 yards on 17 attempts last week and had a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give the Generals a 7-0 lead.
The top receiver is Dalton Patterson with 34 receptions for 617 yards and 6 TDs while Ethan Stroup has 11 catches for 251 yards and a TD with a 22.8 yards per catch average.
Against Wheelersburg, Kurtis Varian led the Generals with three catches for 52 yards.
The offensive line is led by five veteran plays that has twin brothers Zach Prater (6-1, 297) and Bryce Prater (6-2, 263) at the tackles, senior J.J. Durr (5-11, 224) and Marcus Leindecker (6-3, 223) at the guards with junior Kolby Masloski (6-2, 226) at center.
Zach Prater has been recruited by several Division I colleges.
The defense has been a strength for Ridgewood this season with nine returning starters. It’s led by Brandon at outside linebacker, Durr and end and the Prater brothers at tackle.
Durr has 10 quarterback sacks.
The entire secondary of Patterson, Belt, Stroup and Varian returns. Tingle plays cornerback against the better teams but will be probably be held out of action against Ironton due to his injury.
While defense is a strength for Ridgewood, it is a beast for Ironton.
Senior linebacker Reid Carrico has 31 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss. Dalton Crabtree has 39 stops with 10 tackles for a loss, Cameron Deere has 35 tackles, Nate Cochran 33 and Gunner Crawford 29.
Crawford had nine tackles for a loss while Deere and Cochran had 8 each.
Crawford leads the team with five quarterback sacks while Carrico and Cochran have three each.
Ironton has scored 420 points this season and allowed just 54. Ridgewood has scored 355 points and given up 65 points.
Spearheading the Ironton offense is, well, Carrico.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior headed for Ohio State has carried 118 times for 1,276 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has seven receptions for 112 yards and a score.
Sophomore Trevor Carter has 485 yards on 55 carries and five TDs while sophomore quarterback Tayden Carpenter has 32 carries for 190 yards and four touchdowns, one last week that proved to be the difference in a 21-14 win over World Harvest Prep.
Carpenter is 62-of-99 passing for 1,097 yards and 18 TDs. Senior Trent Hacker leads the teams with 15 catches for 365 yards and four touchdowns.
Aaron Masters has 10 receptions for 231 yards and three scores and Kyle Howell seven grabs for 116 yards and a TD.
Placekicker Jimmy Mahlmeister is perfect on 55 extra point attempts. He has hit a 42-yard field goal and missed from 40 on his only two attempts.

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Defense
Pos. Player No. Ht. Wt. Gr.
DE Ashton Duncan 24 6-02 225 Jr.
DT Nate Cochran 76 6-02 260 Jr.
DT Gunner Crawford 36 5-10 225 Sr.
DE Angelo Washington 25 6-00 210 Jr.
OLB Dalton Crabtree 33 5-10 190 Sr.
ILB Reid Carrico 28 6-03 235 Sr.
ILB Cameron Deere 30 5-11 190 Sr.
OLB Lincoln Barnes 32 5-11 160 So.
CB Trent Hacker 10 6-02 175 Sr.
CB Landen Wilson 15 5-08 140 So.
S Kyle Howell 20 5-10 170 Sr.
S Uriah Meadows 37 5-07 150 Sr.
P Kyle Howell 20 5-10 170 Sr.

Ironton Fighting Tigers Offense
Pos. Player No. Ht. Wt. Gr.
WR Trent Hacker 10 6-02 175 Sr. TE Ashton Duncan 24 6-02 225 Jr.
Dalton Crabtree 33 5-10 190 Sr.
RT Matthew Davis 52 6-00 210 Sr.
RG C.J. McCall 75 6-01 310 Jr.
C Rocky White 63 5-11 235 Sr.
LG Rylan Cecil 78 6-01 270 Jr.
RT Riley Boggs 70 6-02 260 Jr.
WR Kyle Howell 20 5-10 170 Sr.
QB Tayden Carpenter 4 5-11 175 So.
FB Cameron Deere 30 5-11 190 Sr.
RB Reid Carrico 28 6-03 235 Sr.
Trevor Carter 2 6-01 190 So.
PK Jimmy Mahlmeister 81 6-00 165 Sr.

Ridgewood Generals Offense
Pos. Player No. Ht. Wt. Gr.
QB Gabe Tinlge 2 5-11 171 Jr.
RB Deontae Brandon 35 5-11 186 Sr.
RB Kigenn Millender 4 5-09 163 Jr.
RB Xavier Lamneck 7 5-09 162 Jr.
LT Bryce Prater 62 6-02 277 Sr.
LG Marcus Leindecker 65 6-05 220 Sr.
C Kolby Masloski 77 6-01 221 Sr.
RG J.J. Durr 52 5-11 224 Sr.
RT Zach Prater 57 6-01 290 Sr.
WR Dalton Patterson 14 6-1 178 Jr.
WR Javan Belt 12 6-01 140 Sr.
Ethan Stroup 5 6-01 167 Sr.
PK Andy Troyer 10 5-10 171 Jr.

Ridgewood Generals Defense
Pos. Player No. Ht. Wt. Gr.
DE Kadin Bradford DE 6-03 225 Jr.
DT Bryce Prater 62 6-02 277 Sr.
DT Zach Prater 57 6-01 290 Sr.
DE J.J. Durr 52 5-11 224 Sr.
OLB Deonte Brandon 35 5-11 186 Sr.
MLB Kauelen Smith 29 5-11 219 So.
OLB Xavier Lamneck 7 5-09 162 Jr.
CB Dalton Patterson 14 6-1 178 Jr.
CB Ethan Stroup 5 6-01 167 Sr.
Gabe Tingle 2 5-11 171 Jr.
S Kurt Varian 24 5-08 163 Sr.
S Javan Belt 12 6-01 140 Sr.
P Andy Troyer 10 5-10 171 Jr.
Backups
DT Kolby Masloski 77 6-01 221 Sr.
DT Jonas Paugh 56 6-00 181 So.
DE Kaleb Schrock 80 6-00 142 So.
LB Quincy Hains 26 5-11 181 So.
LB Brock Farver 68 5-08 163 Sr.
CB Calvin Kohman 8 6-00 173 Sr.
S Alex Stroup 3 6-01 161 Jr.