Fighting Tigers stay unbeaten in OVC with win over Hornets

Published 1:46 am Saturday, October 9, 2021

Mark Williams

For The Ironton Tribune


COAL GROVE — Like the powerful thunderstorm that pummeled most of the Tri-State only hours before kick-off, the Ironton Fighting Tigers blew through the Coal Grove Hornets 48-0 on Friday night at Lemaster Stadium.

Led by a near flawless offensive effort from quarterback Tayden Carpenter, the Fighting Tigers remained undefeated in the Ohio Valley Conference at 5-0 and improved their overall record to 7-1 on the season.

Carpenter amassed three touchdowns and 230 passing yards on 11 of 15 attempts in the first half alone. Spreading the ball to multiple receivers and even running for a touchdown himself, the Hornets had no answer for Ironton’s high powered offense at any point during the game.

Despite two penalties on the opening drive, the Fighting Tigers scored easily on seven plays and never looked back. After a turnover-on-downs on Coal Grove’s first offensive drive, Ironton quickly struck again. The two-play drive ended with a 29-yard strike from Carpenter to receiver Aiden Young, and the rout was on before anyone on Patterson Field could catch their breath.

Coal Grove (4-3, 3-2) wisely tried to slow the game down, leaning heavily on a grinding run game led by Chase Hall. However, the Ironton defense held strong, only allowing 67 total yards in the first half.

In the second quarter, with Ironton driving in the red zone, Carpenter was forced to retreat and recover the second errant Tiger snap of the game, this time for a loss of 25 yards.

Facing a fourth and goal from the 26-yard line, the Fighting Tigers nearly pulled off the unthinkable, but wide receiver Ty Perkins was forced out of bounds on the one-yard line, turning the ball over to the Hornets.

Hoping to build some late second quarter momentum off the unusual goal line stand but buried deep in their own territory, Coal Grove attempted to secure some breathing room with their ground game. The Ironton defense held again, forcing a Coal Grove punt from their own end zone.

The Hornets’ woes did not end there as the punt was blocked and recovered for a touchdown by Ironton standout lineman Rylan Cecil.

On the following Coal Grove offensive possession, the Hornets fumbled on first down, immediately turning the ball over to the Fighting Tigers.

Wasting no time, Carpenter and Ironton took to the air and scored again, this time to receiver Landon Wilson. When the dust settled, Ironton went into the locker room up 34-0 at halftime.

With a running clock, Ironton continued their dominance in the second half. After receiving the kickoff, the Hornets quickly punted after a three-and-out opening possession. Four plays later, Ironton running back Amar Howard scored on his first touch of the game.

A subsequent turnover on downs by Coal Grove led to another lightning fast scoring drive by Carpenter and the Fighting Tigers ending with a 13-yard rushing score by Carpenter making the score 48-0.

Coal Grove’s lone scoring threat of the game came on the following drive. The Hornets methodically drove the ball down the field riding their workhorse running back junior Chase Hall.

On the edge of a touchdown, the Hornets’ hopes of breaking their two-year scoring drought against Ironton slipped through their hands when Hall fumbled the ball into the end zone on the next play resulting in a touchback and a change of possession back to Ironton.

The two teams would swap possessions two more times before the clock read zero.

Ironton finished the game with 330 total yards of offense, 247 coming from the golden left arm of Carpenter.

Though Coal Grove did not find the end zone, Hall still mustered another impressive 100-yard rushing game with 108 yards on 26 carries.

Ironton looks to continue its dominance of the OVC next week in a much-anticipated shake-up with Gallipolis. Coal Grove returns to Lemaster Stadium next week for their final home game of the season in a senior-night battle with Fairland.