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Ironton headed to state championship for rematch with Kirtland

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

LONDON — Ironton vs. Kirtland: The Sequel.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Cincinnati Roger Bacon Spartans 22-19 on Saturday in the Division 5 state semifinals.
The win means Ironton (11-0) will face Kirtland in a rematch of last season’s state championship game. Kirtland rolled past Tontogany Otsego 39-13 in the other semifinal game.
Kirtland won last year’s title game 17-7.
This will be Ironton’s 10th trip to the state championship games. The Fighting Tigers have two state titles (1979, 1989).
This will be Kirtland’s ninth berth in the state finals. The Hornets have five state championships including the last two seasons.
Reid Carrico lived up to his billing as the Southeast District Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year. The Ironton senior running back and linebacker finished with 28 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns while catching three passes for 39 yards and the winning touchdown.
Roger Bacon (10-1) All-Ohio running back and LSU recruit Cory Kiner ran 22 times for 102 yards but was kept in check most of the game. His longest run of the game was 32 yards.
Ironton finished with 299 total yards — 249 coming on the ground — while the defense limited Roger Bacon to 191 total yards and just 94 yards rushing on 34 carries.
Ironton struck first and struck quickly.
After an exchange of punts to begin the game, Ironton was facing a second-and-8 when Reid Carrico broke through the Roger Bacon defense and outran everyone 78 yards for a touchdown with 6:59 left in the first quarter.
The conversion kick was blocked.
The Spartans fumbled at their own 18-yard line and Landen Wilson recovered for Ironton.
Six plays later, Carrico plowed into the end zone and after Jimmy Mahlmeister’s conversion kick it was 13-0 with 10:27 left in the half.
But then the turnover bug began hitting Ironton again.
A fumble at their own 41 set up Roger Bacon’s first score. A personal foul penalty moved the ball to the 20 and Logan Huber hit Ryan Hallau with a scoring pass with 6:40 on the clock. Dylan Rolfert kicked the conversion and Ironton’s lead was 13-7.
Ironton turned the ball back to the Spartans just three plays later on another fumble at the Fighting Tigers’ 30-yard line.
The Spartans used a flea-flicker as running back Danny Hudepohl hit Jake Tschida who was wide open in the back of the end zone with 5:43 left in the half. The conversion kick failed and the game was tied.
Following an exchange of punts, Ironton went on a 65-yard, 8-play drive that was keyed by Cameron Deere’s 22-yard run. But the big play was the touchdown play as Tayden Carpenter hit Carrico out of the backfield on a wheel route to the left and the big senior raced the final 15 yards into the end zone to tie the game with 8:01 to play.
Mahlmeister kicked the conversion point and gave Ironton the 20-19 lead.
Roger Bacon gained 2 yards on its next play, but a bad snap over Huber’s head sent the Spartans’ quarterback scrambling for the ball and he recovered it in the end zone for a safety as Ironton now led 22-19 with 7:18 left.
The free kick went all the way inside the Ironton 20-yard line but rolled out of bounds giving the Fighting Tigers the ball at the Roger Bacon 45.
But a penalty and two plays that saw Ironton lose 11 yards forced a punt and Roger Bacon had one last grasp at its own 21.
A fourth-and 15 pass was incomplete but a pass interference call gave the Spartans new life and it was fourth-and-one. The Spartans were called for illegal procedure and Kiner was stopped for a 4-yard loss and Ironton had the ball at the 36.
The Fighting Tigers ran two plays for a first down and then took a knee on two straight players as time expired and punched their ticket to the state title game at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Fortress Orbetz in Columbus.
Ironton was sloppy once again with 12 penalties for 115 yards and lost three of four fumbles.
Roger Bacon was called for seven penalties totaling 49 yards and recovered both their fumbles.
The state semifinal appearance was the first in school history for Roger Bacon.
Ironton 6 7 0 9 = 22
Roger Bacon 0 13 6 0 = 19
First Quarter
Irn — Reid Carrico 78 run (kick blocked) 6:59
Second Quarter
Irn – Reid Carrico 1 run (Jimmy Mahlmeister kick) 10:27
RB – Ryan Hallau 20 pass from Logan Huber (Dylan Rolfert kick) 6:40
RB – Jake Tschida 30 pass from Danny Hudepohl (kick failed) 5:43
Third Quarter
RB – Cory Kiner 3 run (kick failed) 3:37
Fourth Quarter
Irn – Reid Carrico 23 pass from Tayden Carpenter (Jimmy Mahlmeister kick) 8:01
Irn – Safety (Roger Bacon recovers bad snap in end zone) 7:18
——
Irn RB
First downs 13 14
Rushes-yards 43-249 34-94
Passing yards 50 97
Total yards 299 191
Cmp-Att-Int 7-13-0 7-19-1
Fumbles-lost 4-3 2-0
Penalties-yards 12-115 7-49
Punts-average 3-38.7 3-37.7
——
Individual Leaders
RUSHING —Ironton: Reid Carrico 28-181 2TD, Cameron Deere 2-27, Trevor Carter 3-11, Tayden Carpenter 4-11, Kyle Howell 2-15, Terrance West 1-4, Ashton Duncan 1-4, team 2-minus 4; Roger Bacon: Cory Kiner 23-102 TD, Danny Hudepohl 6-16, Jah’mal Hutsell 1-8, Logan Huber 3-minus 15, team 1-minus 17.
PASSING — Ironton: Tayden Carpenter 7-13-0 57 TD; Roger Bacon: Logan Huber 6-18-1 67, Danny Hudepohl 1-1-0 30 TD.
RECEIVING — Ironton: Reid Carrico 3-39 TD, Kyle Howell 1-5, Trent Hacker 1-4, Ashton Duncan 1-2; Roger Bacon: Ryan Hallau 3-39 TD, Jake Tschida 2-40 TD, Danny Hudepohl 1-7, Cory Kiner 1-11.
MISSED FIELD GOAL: Dylan Rolfert, Roger Bacon, 36 (WR).