Ironton sets up OVC showdown
By DAVID WALSH
For The Herald-Dispatch
IRONTON - Seth Fosson ran for three touchdowns and Ironton converted two turnovers into points to battle its way to a 21-12 victory over Coal Grove in a key Ohio Valley Conference game Friday night at Bob Lutz Field/Tanks Memorial Stadium.
The victory sets up a showdown for first place in the league Friday when Gallia Academy comes to the Tank for a 7 p.m. contest. The Blue Devils are 5-0 in the league as are the Fighting Tigers (6-2 overall).
“We got a little passive at times,” Ironton coach Trevon Pendleton said. “We’ve got to stay aggressive. They hustled, though, and played hard.”
Ironton now holds a 7-1 lead in the series.
After a scoreless first half, Ironton drove 57 yards for the first score on its first third-quarter possession. Fosson had an 18-yard run on the drive and got the TD on a 2-yard run.
Coal Grove (4-4, 2-3 in OVC) got its first score after recovering at Ironton fumble at the home team’s 9. Austin Stapleton went over from four yards out, but the run for two failed.
In the fourth period, Ironton defensive back Cameron Deere recovered a fumble at the Coal Grove 30 and the Fighting Tigers scored in five plays. Fosson got the TD on a 1-yard run. Later in the period, defensive back Brycen Thomas picked off a pass at the 2 and returned it to the 49. Three plays later, Fosson raced untouched up the middle for a 24-yard TD and 21-6 lead with 5:05 to play.
Coal Grove did not go away. Nate Harmon connected on a 52-yard TD pass to Evan Holmes to cut the lead to 21-12 as the PAT kick failed. On its next possession, Fosson fumbled the ball away at the Hornet 22. The Hornets marched to the Ironton 20 where the drive ended on downs. In addition, the Hornets got hits with a holding call and unsportsmanlike penalty.
“Deere made a big play and so did Thomas,” Pendleton said. “The pick was huge. We’ve just got to finish.”
Fosson finished with 89 yards on nine carries and Reid Carrico 82 on 17. Austin Stapleton led the Hornets with 101 on 22 attempts. Nate Harmon completed 11 of 16 passes for 199 yards. Ironton quarterback Gage Salyers connected on 7 of 13 for 86 yards.
“They loaded the box,” Pendleton said. “We’ve got to do things better, move the pocket more. Gage made some good reads and throws.”
And now thoughts are on Gallia Academy.
“That’s why we play,” Pendleton said. “Show up in the summer to now. This is the first step in the process.”
Ironton has its Hall of Fame induction Saturrday in the high school cafeteria. Festivities start at 6 p.m. Going in are Mandi Boykin, Joe “Bubby” Fletcher, Hal Spears, Keith Stowers and James Taylor.
Ironton’s annual Powder Puff game is Wednesday at Tanks Memorial. Play begins at 6 p.m. Seniors and freshmen take on sophomores and juniors. Admission is $3 adults and $2 students. Proceeds go to fill Christmas food baskets.
COAL GROVE 0 0 6 6 - 12
IRONTON 0 0 7 14 - 21
I - Fosson 2 run (Mahlmeister kick), 7:32.
CG - Stapleton 4 run (run failed), 4:46.
I - Fosson 1 run (Mahlmeister kick), 8:37.
I - Fosson 24 run (Mahlmeister kick), 4:10.
CG - Holmes 52 pass from Harmon (kick failed), 1:55.
First downs 14 13
Rushes-yards 47-143 40-232
Passing yards 199 86
Comp-att-int 11-16-1 7-13-1
Total offense 342 311
Penalties 11-102 5-60
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-2
RUSHING: (CG) Stapleton 22-101, Harmon 14-20, Sites 9-21, Music 2-1; (I) Carrico 17-82, Fosson 9-89. Salyers 13-61, Deere 1-0.
PASSING: (CG) Harmon 11-16-1, 199; (I) Salyers 7-13-1, 86.
RECEIVING: (CG) Holmes 4-112 Music 4-51, Borders 3-36; (I) Thomas 3-35, Barnes 1-17, Duncan 1-11, Carrico 1-19, Fosson 1-4.