Ironton heads back to Canton for state title game

Published 12:12 am Saturday, November 26, 2022

By Jim Walker

CINCINNATI — The Nightmare on South 7th Street, Part 4.

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The Valley View Spartans have faced the Ironton Fighting Tigers 5 times in the playoffs.

Ironton proved to be the Spartan’s worst nightmare once again as the Fighting Tigers got their fourth win against Valley View 35-21  on Friday in the Division 5 state semifinals to earn a trip to the state title game.

The last time the two teams met was 1999 and Ironton was down 21-3 at halftime but rallied to win 37-29.

On Friday, Ironton fell behind 21-7 and trailed 21-14 at the half.

But the Fighting Tigers came up with 21 points while the defense played lights out by holding the Spartans scoreless in the second half.

Ironton (15-0) now plays Canfield South Range (15-0) at 10:30 a.m. next Friday at Canton’s Tom Benson Stadium in the Division 5 championship game. South Range blanked Liberty Center 35-0.

“This has been our goal since day one. We set out on a mission and we don’t shy away from it. We say anyone, anytime, anywhere. Next week its Friday, 10:30 a.m., Canton, Ohio, Canfield South Range. Let’s go,” said Ironton coach Trevon Pendleton.

This will mark Ironton’s 11th trip to the state finals and third in the past four seasons.

Valley View (13-2) fumble on the first play of the game and Cole Freeman jumped on the ball and Ironton was in business at the Spartans’ 31.

Seven plays later quarterback Tayden Carpenter ran 2 yards and Evan Williams’ conversion kick made it 7-0 at the 8:59 mark.

But Valley View answered with a 79-yard, 7-pay drive capped by Jake Clark’s 1-yard run and Caden Phillips’ kick tied the game with 5:04 on the clock.

Ironton failed to convert on a fourth down play at the 40-yard line and Valley View took just two plays to score.

Clark ran 18 yards and then Caden Henson hit Austin Stidham on a 42-yard scoring pass for a 14-7 lead at the 8:30 mark of the second quarter.

Ironton stalled at its own 17 and a punt snap was fumble and Stidham fell on the ball in the end zone to make it 21-7.

But Ironton shook off the turnover and came right back with a 3-yard scoring run by Jaquez Keyes to cap a 68-yard, 5-play drive highlighted by C.J. Martin’s 55-yard catch and run to the 3-yard line and it was 21-14 with 5:04 left in the half.

Ironton got the ball to start the second half and Keyes bolted 72 yards on the first play as he broke several tackles and outran the defense to the end zone to tie the game at 21.

“We always talk about your seniors have got to make plays in big moments and those two  (Martin and Keyes) stepped up and made huge plays,” said Pendleton.

The Spartans drove to the Ironton 10-yard line only to have a flea-flicker pass from Stidham intercepted by Landen Wilson in the end zone. It was his seventh pick of the season.

Ironton got the ball later in the quarter and Carpenter hit shaun Terry on a short out route and he turned it into a 51-yard scoring play thanks to a block by wide receiver Ty Perkins.

“He’s a special player and special players make special plays,” Pendleton said of Terry.

Ironton put the game away with a 46-yard, 11-play drive capped by Keyes’ 2-yard TD run.

Keyes finished the game with 150yards on 13 carries and 3 touchdowns.

Valley View’s last chance was ended quickly as Braden Schreck picked off a pass at the 39-yard.

Pendleton said the difference in Ironton’s performance in the second half defensively was simple.

“Focus. Just focused. They realized what was at stake. We kind of beat ourselves (in the first half) and we were able to reel it back in and go back to work,” he said.

Besides Wilson and Schreck, Freeman also had an interception in the second half.

“We had some chances on the 50-50 balls in the first half and we wasn’t able to capitalize on them. We just kept playing hard and in the second half we was able to capitalized on them,” said Pendleton.

Carpenter finished 15-of-25 for 246 yards and Ironton ran for 257 to rack up 5-4 total yards. Amari Felder had 66 yards rushing on 15 carries.

With Valley View geared to stop Ty Perkins, Martin had 2 catches for 61 yards, Terry 3 for 71, Wilson 2 for 55 and Aiden Young 4 for 42.

“Ty impacted this game more than he realizes without making the catches he usually makes. We knew at some point it was coming that they were going to give us some different looks and try to take (Perkins) out of the equation and out other kids stepped up,” said Pendleton.

Valley View 7 14 0 0 = 21

Ironton     7 7 14 7 = 35

First Quarter

Irn — Tayden Carpenter 2 run (Evan Williams kick) 8:59

VV — Jake Clark 1 run (Caden Phillips kick) 5:04

Second Quarter

VV — Jedrek Lynch 2 pass from Caden Henson (Cade Phillips kick) 8:30

VV — Austin Stidham recover fumble in end zone (Caden Phillips kick) 7:09

Irn — Jaquez Keyes 3 run (Evan Williams kick) 5:54

Third Quarter

Irn — Jaquez Keyes 72 run (Evan Williams kick) 11:48

Irn — Shaun Terry 51 pass from Tayden Carpenter (Evan Williams kick) 1:12

Fourth Quarter

Irn — Jaquez Keyes 2 run (Evan Williams kick) 3:52


VV Irn

First downs 12 12

Rushes-yards 24-60 41-257

Passing yards 184 246

Total yards 244 504

Cmp-Att-Int 13-22-3 15-2-1

Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1

Penalties-yards 2-7 10-105

Punts-average 3-39.0 2-35.5


Individual Leaders

RUSHING–Valley View: Jake Clark 13-54, Austin Stidham 3-11, Caden Henson 8-minus 5; Ironton: Jaquez Keyes 13-150 3-TD, Amari Felder 15-66, Tayden Carpenter 10-35, Landen Wilson 3-6.

PASSING–Valley View: Caden Henson 13-21–2 149  TD, Austin Stidham 0-1-1; Ironton: Tayden Carpenter 15-25-1 246 TD.

RECEIVING–Valley View: Troy Hypes 1-29, Austin Stidham 6-125, Jedrek Lynch 3-22, Jake Clark 3-8; Ironton: Ty Perkins 2-14, Aiden Young 4-42, Landen Wilson 2-55, Shaun Terry 3-71 TD, C.J. Martin 2-61, Trevor Carter 1-4, Jaquez Keyes 1-minus 1,