Ironton notches first victory
FLATWOODS, Ky. — Special teams play made Friday night special for rookie Ironton head coach Trevon Pendleton.
The Fighting Tigers registered a first-quarter safety and turned a block punt into a score in the third quarter to take the lead for good against Russell.
Sophomore Reid Carrico, who blocked the punt and scooped it up for the score, iced the outcome with a 74-yard TD run with 1:58 left to secure a 16-7 victory over the Red Devils at Ivan McGlone Field/Harry Evans Stadium. Pendleton got win No. 1 in just his second game leading the Fighting Tigers.
“Feels great, but not the way I envisioned it,” Pendleton said. “Defense played a stellar game. Had too many mistakes, penalties. Those are things we have to clean up”
Ironton returns to action Friday at Fairland to open Ohio Valley Conference play. Russell takes on Ashland.
Pendleton said Carrico comes to play each game night.
“He’s a freak athlete,” Pendleton said. “He’s got some wheels. I like the way we played in the second half. We sustained the line of scrimmage. The punt block, we almost got one earlier and thought we could get there.”
Carrico finished with 134 yards on 17 carries.
“We’re growing up,” Carrico said. “That’s why they call us the Fighting Tigers. We come at you four quarters. The toughness shows.”
Ironton took a 2-0 lead with 7:02 left in the first quarter. Russell had to punt, the snap sailed high into the end zone from 16 yards out and punter Charlie Jachimczuk fell on the ball for the safety.
Russell took the lead with 7:00 left in the second when Nathan Conley went over from a yard out. A pass interference against Ironton gave the Red Devils new life at the visitor’s 4 and the home team scored two plays later.
In the first half, penalties haunted the Fighting Tigers as they got flagged 10 times for 65 yards. On its first possession of the third period, Ironton drove to the Russell 20, then lost 19 yards mainly due to penalties.
Russell later made a long drive only to see Gabe Floyd missed a 27-yard field goal with 49 seconds left in the third period.