Ironton overcomes sluggish start to rout Fairland in OVC

Published 12:49 am Saturday, September 2, 2023

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ wide receiver Tyler Roach goes into the air to make this catch in the end zone for a touchdown on the final play of the first half. Ironton went on to beat Fairland 62-14. (Jeremy Holtzapfel/


Fairland Dragons’ linebacker Will Callicoat (52) returned a fumble 33yards for a touchdown but had it called back due to a penalty. Ironton won teh OVC game 62-14. (Jeremy Holtzapfel/


Ironton Fighting Tigers’ wide receiver Shaun Terry goes into the end zone for one of his 3 touchdowns during an OVC win over Fairland. (Jeremy Holtzapfel/


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It’s not how you start but how you finish.

And boy did the Ironton Fighting Tigers finish.

Ironton fumbled the ball away early and Fairland took advantage to score and take an early 7-0 lead.

But the Fighting Tigers took over from there and scored 41 straight points en route to a 62-14 rout of the Dragons in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

In a battle of unbeaten, Ironton’s offense and defense came up big despite a very sluggish start.

“Ultimately, sluggish start but out kids dug out of a hole and played hard. I’m proud of them,” said Ironton head coach Trevon Pendleton.

“Them guys buckled down. They do a good job every week so we know our defense is going to show up and they’re going to play hard and they’re gong to force a lot of three and outs and make it hard on the offense and not give up anything easy. They showcased that tonight. We got a few things we’ve got to clean up. We got confused in coverage once or twice. It’s stuff we know. But I thought we handled (Fairland) pretty well.”

Ironton (3-0, 1-0) racked up 442 yards of total offense and held the Dragons (2-1 0-1) to just 170 total yards including only 34 net yards rushing.

Shaun “Mr. Electric” Terry was at it again with his shocking plays. Terry caught 3 passes for 129 yards and 3 touchdowns. His twisting and spinning moves could be made into a music video for Chubby Checker’s “Do The Twist” his song.

But Terry got plenty of help from his teammates.

Quarterback Bailey Thacker was 10-f-13 for 218 yards and 4 touchdowns and also ran 10 times for 74 yards and a score. Zayne Williams ran 9 times for 42 yards and a score while Tyler Roach caught his first career touchdown pass.

“The hardest part about this right now is we’ve got some weapons and it’s just figuring out a way to get (the ball) in all their hands,” said Pendleton. “We’ve got to do a little better job up front. We’ve got to get (Thacker) in winning situations and let his talent show through on its own.”

Ironton forced a punt to start the game and started to move the ball only to fumble 2 plays in a row and lost 24 yards. The second fumble was recovered by Will Callicoat who returned it for a touchdown only to have a block in the back penalty brig the ball back to the Ironton 23.

It took the Dragons 5 plays to score with Quentin Cremeans going the final yard for the touchdown. Aeden Miller kicked the conversion and Fairland led 7-0 at the 6:45 mark.

Ironton answered with a 63-yard, 10-play drive that end on a 27-yard quick screen pass to Terry who went the distance for the score. David Fields kicked the conversion and it was 7-all with 1:36 left in the quarter.

Fairland went 3-and-out and Ironton got the ball back at the Dragons’ 45. This time it took 9 plays to go the distance with Williams running the final 8 yards. A bad snap on the conversion left the lead at 13-7 with 9:18 to go in the quarter.

Dragons’ quarterback Peyton Jackson hit Will Davis on a 29-yard pass play that got the ball to the Ironton 35, but Ironton’s defense stiffened as the drive died at the 34.

It took just 2 plays for Ironton score as Thacker ran 41 yards on a keep and Gavin Hart bolted 25 yards on the next play to pay dirt behind a nice downfield block by Braden Schreck and it was 20-7 with 6:20 on the clock.

Another Fairland punt game the ball to Ironton on the 47. After a loss of 5 yards, Thacker hit Schreck for 9 yards and then threw  to Terry on a 49-yard catch and run to make it 27-7 with 3:41 to play in the half.

Fairland was trying to run out the clock only to have Ironton get the ball back with 18 seconds to play in the half.

An 18-yard pass to Nick Sites got the ball to the Fairland 28 with 1.3 seconds left and then Thacker threw to Roach in the end zone as time expired for a 34-7 halftime lead.

It took Ironton all of 3 plays to score again at the start of the third quarter.

Thacker threw to Terry in the flats and the junior wide receiver began his twisting and turning on 3 different occasions and race 53 yards for the score and 41-7 lead.

The Dragons did roll over and play dead. They drove 72 yards in 10 plays capped by a 30-yard strike from Peyton Jackson to Brycen Hunt.

Jackson was 13-of-24 passing for 136 yards and a touchdown to pace the Dragons’ offense.

The Fighting Tigers came right back with a 66-yard drive in 12 plays as Thacker powered into the end zone to make it 41=14.

Ironton’s backups got the final 2 scores as Tyler Carmon raced 42 yards through the Fairland defense for a 55-14 lead and Kayden Edwards ran 6 yards for his first career touchdown and Brycen Mullins kicked his first conversion with 3:06 left.

Pendleton was happy his team as well as it did due to injuries and illness that plagued the team this past week.

“We got some guys banged up that wasn’t able to go tonight. We’re missing a guy who was in our lineman rotation — Morgan Gleichauf — he hasn’t played the last two weeks. He had a minor surgery and we’re hoping he’s back next week. He’s a really good football play,” said Pendleton.

“We had some guys step up. We had some guys out with sickness and illness, but these guys find a way to show up for work every day and overcome whatever obstacle is put in their way. It’s a testament to some of the younger guys getting some reps.”

Ironton plays Cabell Midland at Marshall University’s stadium at 7 Saturday. Fans are urged to purchase tickets in advance through the Marshall ticket office (1-800-THE-HERD).

Fairland 7 0 7 0 = 14

Ironton 7 27 14 14 = 62

First Quarter

Fa — Kam Kitts 3 run (Aeden Miller kick) 6:45

Irn — Shaun Terry 27 pass from Bailey Thacker (David Fields kick0 1:36

Second Quarter

Irn — Zayne Williams 8 run (run failed) 9:18

Irn — Gavin Hart 25 run (David Fields kick) 20-7

Irn — Shaun Terry 49 pass from Bailey Thacker (David Fields kick) 3:41

Irn — Tyler Roach 28 pass from Bailey Thacker (David Fields kick) 0:00

Third Quarter

Irn — Shaun Terry 53 pass from Bailey Thacker (David Fields kick) 10:46

Irn — Brycen Hunt 30 pass from Peyton Jackson (Aeden Miller kick) 6:05

Irn — Bailey Thacker 1 run (David Fields kick) 0:31

Fourth Quarter

Irn — Tyler Carmon 42 run (David Fields kick) 9:07

Irn — Kayden Edwards 6 run (Brycen Mullins kick) 3:09



First downs 8 20

Rushes-yards 23-34 40-224

Passing yards 136 218

Total yards 170 442

Cmp-Att-Int 14-24-0 10-14-0

Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-1

Penalties-yards 9-87 7-54

Punts-average 5-34.8 1-42.0


Individual Leaders

RUSHING–Fairland: Peyton Jackson 7-16, Quentin Cremeans 5-5, Kam Kitts 3-minus 3, Jack Hayden 1-1, Garrett Massie 4-18, Lucas Bompus 3-minus 6; Ironton: Bailey Thacker 10-74 TD, Zayne Williams 9-42 TD, Jesse Copas 10-29, Tyler Carmon 2-51 TD, Kayden Edwards 2-21 TD, Gavin Hart 2-28 TD,Ben Sloan 1-4, Shaun Terry 2-minus 1, Team 2-minus 24.

PASSING–Fairland: Peyton Jackson 14-24-0 136 TD; Ironton: Bailey Thacker 10-13-0 218 4-TD.

RECEIVING–Fairland: Jack Hayden 4-30, Brycen Hunt 3-36 TD, Christian Collins 2-18, Will Davis 1-29, Xander Collins 1-12, C.J. Graham 2-9; Ironton: Shaun Terry 3-129 3-TD, Braden Schreck 4-32, Tyler Roach 1-28 TD, Nick Sites 1-18, Aris Pittman 1-7.